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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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

April 2, 1998

Janet Mizzi (801) 524-5001 x 128
Terry Sexson (303) 236-7905 x 429

CONSERVATION AGREEMENT WILL PROTECT SPOTTED FROG,
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ANNOUNCES

A wide-ranging Conservation Agreement between more than a half dozen Federal and State agencies and an Indian tribe will remove or alleviate threats to spotted frog populations in parts of Utah, making Federal protection of the species unnecessary, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today.

"We’re protecting God’s creation before it requires last minute CPR", said Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. "Under Administration reforms to the Endangered Species Act, we are proving the Act can work early, effectively, and flexibly for all. To generate more success stories like the spotted frog, those progressive reforms should be written into the law."

"The Conservation Agreement ensures that spotted frogs will be taken care of by a number of Federal and State agencies," said Reed Harris, the Service's Field Supervisor in Utah. Harris said participants will be able to carry out conservation actions faster and more effectively, "with less paperwork and a lighter regulatory burden" than if the frog had been added to the Federal endangered species list. Conservation Agreements are an example of Service commitment to protect species through cooperation and partnership whenever possible.

Spotted frog populations in Utah have been in decline for years, but have been particularly hard-hit in the fast-developing Wasatch Front. Many conservation efforts have already helped eliminate or alleviate pressures on the frog's habitat in these areas. Those efforts have included elimination of a potentially detrimental mosquito control project on Bureau of Land Management land in Juab County, installation of cattle exclosures around springs in the Gandy Salt Marsh complex, acquisition of 126 acres of wetland habitat along the Provo River by the Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission and provision of year-round water flows to the Jordanelle Mitigation Ponds where the frogs overwinter.

Future commitments under the Conservation Agreement include extensive surveys, genetic and ecological studies in the Wasatch Front and West Desert ecosystems and continued work with landowners on cattle exclosures. Breeding and habitat research will be conducted and improved livestock management on both Federal and private land is expected. The Utah Reclamation and Conservation Commission plans to acquire and restore an additional 990 acres of riparian habitat suitable to frog enhancement.

The Conservation Agreement has been signed by the Service, the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Utah Reclamation Mitigation and Conservation Commission, Central Utah Water Conservancy District, the Bureau of Reclamation and the Bureau of Land Management.


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