Multi-Agency Collaboration with Local Partners Paves Way for Final Recovery Plan for the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog in Southern California

Press Release
Multi-Agency Collaboration with Local Partners Paves Way for Final Recovery Plan for the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog in Southern California

Carlsbad, Calif. — Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a final recovery plan to help restore Southern California populations of the endangered mountain yellow-legged frog. The plan was developed in collaboration with state, local and federal partners

The mountain yellow-legged frog occurs in two distinct population groups - one in the Sierra Nevada and the other in mountains ranges of Southern California. Although their habitats vary significantly, both populations face similar threats.

When the mountain yellow-legged frog was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2002, there were fewer than 100 adult frogs left in Southern California. Threats include wildfire, contaminants, predatory nonnative fish species (trout), illegal marijuana cultivation and incompatible recreational activities. Since the time of listing, the Service has been working with partners, including California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Forest Service and San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Omaha zoos, to implement beneficial recovery actions for the frog and minimize threats. These partners were consulted in the development of the recovery plan and the ongoing conservation actions are now reflected in the final plan.

“This plan is a reflection of successful ongoing recovery actions implemented collaboratively by the Service and its federal, state, and local partners who have maintained support for this species for years,” said Paul Souza, director of the Service’s Pacific Southwest Region. “Efforts with this frog will benefit additional wildlife across the urban landscape in Southern California and promote a healthy environment for local communities within these watersheds.”

In Southern California, this brownish-yellow frog is found near water in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains. Ensuring quality habitat will protect one of California’s last true frogs and benefit people and countless wildlife species by ensuring clean watersheds in Southern California. True frogs are those that live in and near water, and need water to survive.

Some recovery actions outlined in the plan include: developing and implementing a rangewide monitoring protocol to accurately and consistently document populations; conducting research designed to inform management actions and recovery; investigating rangewide threats to inform threat prevention strategies; and reestablishing mountain yellow-legged frog populations in the wild.

The final recovery plan is available online at

Recovery plans are not regulatory documents and do not require any agency or landowner to implement specific actions.

Learn more about recent recovery efforts for the mountain yellow-legged frog:

Photos of this species may be found on Flickr:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr.