How We Help Frogs
Concern about the decline of frogs prompted the Amphibian Ark and its member organizations, including the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), to declare 2008 as the “Year of the Frog” to highlight the amphibian extinction crisis and emphasize the importance of amphibian conservation. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a Memorandum of Understanding with the WAZA to work together to conserve species. In addition, the Service is a natural collaborator in the "Year of the Frog" because our mission is to work with others to conserve fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats.
Our Nation's coastal areas provide valuable habitat for fish and wildlife species. While coastal ecosystems comprise less than 10% of total land area, they support 45% of threatened and endangered species. Meanwhile, coastal habitats face a diverse series of threats including: habitat loss due to urbanization, fishery habitat loss, sea level rise, contaminant spills, wetland losses of 50-90% from historic levels, nutrient over-enrichment, and dams or culverts which restrict or limit the movement of fish and wildlife.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program works with local communities and other partners to address these threats by protecting and restoring coastal habitat. One example of a recent Coastal Program project benefiting amphibians is the Arcata Baylands Restoration/Enhancement project in California. Working with the California Wildlife Conservation Board and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, this project restores and enhances habitat for federal trust species such as the Northern Red-legged frog and the Foothill Yellow-legged frog. Learn more about the Coastal Program.
More than thirty years ago, Congress took the far-sighted step of creating the Endangered Species Act (ESA), widely regarded as the world's strongest and most effective wildlife conservation law. The ESA set an ambitious goal: to reverse the alarming trend of human-caused extinctions that threatened the ecosystems we all share. Learn more about how the Endangered Species Program helps species at risk of becoming endangered and protects and recovers species that are endangered.
To ensure the health of National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) habitat, Service environmental contaminant specialists monitor the effects of contamination on fish and wildlife species found on Refuges. In July, 2000, the Service launched a nationwide survey of abnormal amphibians on wildlife refuges. In areas where an unusual number of abnormal amphibians are found, the Service hopes to identify the cause, or causes, of the abnormalities and provide concrete management guidelines for wildlife refuges and other land managers to address the problem. Learn more about how the Division of Environmental Quality is involved in amphibian protection and recovery.
To help ensure conservation of the world’s diverse species, the Service’s Division of International Conservation provides a series of partnership programs which promote conservation in other nations. These Wildlife Without Borders programs function at all levels – from grass roots capacity building and applied scientific research to wildlife management training and fostering improved coexistence of humans and wildlife. By partnering with international and local conservation organizations, governments, academic programs, and community leaders, Wildlife Without Borders leverages matching and in-kind contributions to support on-the-ground wildlife conservation initiatives and local capacity building among natural resource managers. Learn more about the Wildlife Without Borders Programs.
Wildlife Without Borders is comprised of a variety of species, regional, and globally focused programs to address threats to biological diversity. One example of a recent regional project focused on amphibian conservation is an assessment of the major risk factors in the transmission of a deadly skin disease, the chytrid frog fungus, among critically endangered Venezuelan Yellow Frogs. The fungus has been linked to local frog extinctions in Latin America and elsewhere around the globe. In funding a study of its transmission by a local partner institution, the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Research (IVIC), the Service hopes to facilitate knowledge sharing among Latin American resource managers and partners to help halt the spread of the disease among the region’s amphibians. Learn more about the Wildlife Without Borders – Latin America and Caribbean Programs. In addition, a global initiative which helps conserve and restore amphibian habitat is the International Wetlands Program. Built on the cornerstone of an international convention held in Ramsar, Iran in 1981, this program provides a framework for voluntary conservation of “wetlands of international importance” around the world. Through this program, small grants have been provided to local conservation organizations for activities that protect wetlands directly or help educate the public about the services wetlands provide.
The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program represents the premier voluntary habitat restoration program within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Working together to provide financial and technical assistance to private landowners across the United States, the Partners Program has successfully restored several million acres of upland and wetland habitat since 1987.
In light of the "2008: Year of the Frog", the Partners Program has partnered with Tree Walkers International, Operation Frog Pond initiative to promote domestic amphibian habitat restoration projects and connecting children to nature through schoolyard habitats. Operation Frog Pond recently produced a report entitled "Identifying Priority Ecoregions for Amphibian Conservation in the U.S. and Canada." The report is intended as the first step toward determining where small-scale habitat improvement projects, likely to be implemented by individuals or small groups, should be targeted within the U.S. and Canada. By working together to conserve amphibian habitat, a small number of people can have a great impact on the conservation of our sensitive amphibian species.
The Service helps conserve habitat for fish and wildlife through the National Wildlife Refuge System, the world's largest and most diverse collection of lands set aside specifically for wildlife. Management of wildlife refuges includes not only preservation but also restoration where necessary to achieve healthy habitats and wildlife populations. Several National Wildlife Refuges have been established for endangered species, including two that were established specifically for endangered amphibians — Ellicott Slough (Santa Cruz long-toed salamander), and Mortenson Lake (Wyoming toad).