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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

 

September 25, 2001

Jessica Gourley 801-524-5001 ext 133
Sharon Rose 303-236-7917, x415

                            U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO REVIEW STATUS OF SPOTTED FROG

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it will review the status of the Wasatch Front population of the Columbia spotted frog (Rana luteiventris), in accordance with a court-approved settlement agreement.

On August 6, 2001, a settlement was reached that stipulates that the Service reconsider the "not warranted" finding and commence a new status review and 12-month finding on the Wasatch Front population of the spotted frog. The revised finding is to be completed by July 31, 2002. The agreement also states the Service will not vacate the previous finding and will not restore the candidate status of the spotted frog unless it is determined in the revised 12-month finding that the species should be listed, or that it is warranted for listing but precluded due to other species that have a higher listing priority. A notice of the status review appeared in the Federal Register on September 10, 2001. Public comments are invited and should be received by the Service’s Salt Lake City office at Lincoln Plaza, 145 East 1300 South, Suite 404, Salt Lake City, UT 84115 by November 9, 2001.

In 1998, the Utah Spotted Frog Conservation Agreement and Strategy was signed by the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission, Central Utah Water Conservancy District, the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Federation, all working to ensure the long-term conservation of the spotted frog. After the agreement was in place and based on ongoing conservation activities, the Service removed the frog from its candidate list and declared it not warranted for listing.

On June 8, 1999, a complaint was filed by the Biodiversity Legal Foundation and Peter Hovingh challenging the "not warranted" finding as violating the ESA and the Administrative Procedures Act. The complaint alleged that a designation of not warranted was inconsistent with eight years of prior determinations by the Service that the spotted frog deserved ESA listing. They claimed a decline in spotted frog populations; that the conservation agreement was not successful; and that all measures identified by the Service as having been implemented had failed, been rejected by the Service as inadequate, or were adopted to mitigate specific projects that had already destroyed spotted frogs and their habitat.

The Service was first petitioned by the Utah Nature Study Society in May 1989 to add the spotted frog to the List of Threatened and Endangered Species under the Endangered Species Act. In May 1993, the Service published a 12-month petition finding for the frog of warranted for listing as threatened but precluded by other higher priority listing actions.

The spotted frog (Rana luteiventris) ranges from southeast Alaska through Alberta, Canada, and into Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, and disjunct areas of Nevada and Utah. In Utah, isolated spotted frog populations exist in the West Desert and along the Wasatch Front. The spotted frog is closely associated with aquatic habitats including the marshy edges of ponds, lakes, and slow-moving cool water streams and springs. Adult frogs have large, dark spots on their backs and pigmentation on their abdomens varying from yellow to red.

Additional information on the spotted frog can be found on the Service’s Mountain-Prairie website at: mountain-prairie.fws.gov/spottedfrog.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
visit our home page at http://www.fws.gov

 


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