|The Mountain-Prairie Region|
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
Contacts: Al Pfister
970-243-2778 ext 29
Southern Rocky Mountain Population of Boreal Toad No Longer Candidate for Listing
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the withdrawal of the Southern Rocky Mountain population of the boreal toad (Bufo boreas boreas) from the list of species being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The Service has determined that listing this population of the boreal toad at this time is not warranted because it does not constitute a distinct population segment as defined by the ESA. Although no further action will result from this finding, the Service will continue to seek new information on the taxonomy, biology, and ecology of the population, as well as potential threats to their continued existence.
A distinct population segment of a vertebrate species can be treated as a species for purposes of listing if that population segment satisfies specific standards set by the Service’s regulations. The standards require it to be discrete from the remainder of the population and significant to the species to which it belongs. The Southern Rocky Mountain population meets the standard for discreteness because it is geographically separated from other populations of boreal toad. However, it does not meet the standard for significance because 1) the population does not persist in an ecological setting unusual or unique for the subspecies (it occurs in a wide variety of habitats across the western United States); 2) the gap resulting from loss of the population would be a relatively small proportion of the overall subspecies range; and 3) the best available scientific information does not permit the Service to conclude that this particular population differs markedly from other populations in genetic characteristics.
The boreal toad subspecies of the western toad is found from coastal Alaska south through British Columbia, western Alberta, Washington, Oregon, and northern California, and east through Idaho, western Montana, western and south central Wyoming, western and central Nevada, the mountains of Utah and Colorado, and extreme northern New Mexico. The range of the Southern Rocky Mountain population of boreal toad is south central Wyoming throughout the mountainous portions of Colorado and into extreme northern New Mexico.
In September 1993, the Biodiversity Legal Foundation and Dr. Peter Hovingh, a researcher at the University of Utah, petitioned the Service to list the Southern Rocky Mountain population of boreal toad as endangered throughout its range in New Mexico, Colorado, and southern Wyoming. The Service initiated a status review and determined in March of 1995 that proposed listing was warranted but precluded by other higher priority actions. The population then became a candidate for listing.
Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has sufficient information on their biological status and posed threats to propose them as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but for which development of a listing regulation is precluded by other higher priority listing activities.
After further review of new information and re-evaluation of previously acquired information, the Service determined that listing is not warranted at this time. That decision was based on the best available scientific and commercial information.
A recovery plan for the Southern Rocky Mountain boreal toad guides conservation efforts for the population. Management activities include annual monitoring of breeding populations, experimental reintroductions, coordinated habitat protection, and public education.
This finding regarding the withdrawal of the Southern Rocky Mountain boreal toad as a candidate species will be published in the Federal Register on September 29, 2005.
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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.
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