The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it is emergency listing the Dixie Valley toad under the Endangered Species Act. Upon publication of the emergency rule in the Federal Register, the Dixie Valley toad will be listed as endangered under the ESA and, be provided immediate federal protections for 240 days. Concurrently, the Service is issuing a proposed rule to list the Dixie Valley toad as an endangered species and taking public comment to inform the decision on whether ESA protections should continue beyond the 240 days of the emergency listing.
The Dixie Valley toad is the smallest of the western toads and is endemic to Nevada. Its range is restricted to a 760-acre wetland complex that is fed by hot springs in the remote Dixie Valley northeast of Fallon, Nevada. In making this emergency and proposed listing determination, the Service has carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding past, present, and future threats faced by the Dixie Valley toad.
Primary threats to the Dixie Valley toad include geothermal development, disease, predation by other non-native frog species, groundwater pumping for human and agricultural use and. The Service has determined that geothermal development poses a significant risk to the well-being of the Dixie Valley toad and that emergency listing is necessary to prevent losses that may result in its extinction. Protecting small population species like this ensures the continued biodiversity necessary to maintain climate resilient landscapes in one of the driest states in the country.
Additionally, the Service seeks input from the public, Tribes, other government agencies, the scientific community, industry and other interested parties on the proposed rule to list the Dixie Valley toad under the normal rulemaking process.
Upon publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register a 60-day comment period will open. The proposal and information on how to submit comments will be posted to https://www.fws.gov/office/reno-fish-and-wildlife, and upon publication in the Federal Register can be found on www.regulations.gov by searching under docket number FWS-R8-ES-2022-0024.
On May 9, 2022, at 5 p.m. PST the Service will hold a virtual public informational meeting about the proposed listing rule. The informational meeting will be followed by a virtual public hearing at 5:35 p.m. PST during which the public can submit verbal comments on the proposed listing rule. Please visit https://www.fws.gov/office/reno-fish-and-wildlife for information on how to register for the public informational meeting and public hearing.
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 www.fws.gov/office/reno-fish-and-wildlife or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.