Our Mission: “Working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.”
Goals for today: Proposals to protect Sierra amphibians • Describe what’s proposed • Discuss the timeline and opportunities for public involvement • Identify the types of information we need and how you can participate • Answer your questions
Listing/Critical Habitat Process • Petition or proposal to list • FWS solicits information -- best available scientific and commercial information • 12-month finding; if warranted: • Proposal to List • Proposal to designate Critical Habitat • Solicit public comment • Revise proposals • Publish final Listing and Critical Habitat Rules
History 2000: Petitioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and Pacific Rivers Council to list the Sierra Nevada population of the mountain yellow-legged frog and Yosemite toad as endangered and designate critical habitat. 2002: Found listing warranted but precluded. Species placed on the candidate list. 2008: Mountain yellow-legged frogs in the northern Sierra were established as a separate species from the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog. 2011: FWS enters into global settlement to address listing backlog for over 200 species, including Sierra amphibians.
April 24, 2013 – Two Proposed Rules: • To add three amphibians to the Endangered Species List • Yosemite toad • Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog • Northern population of mountain yellow-legged frog • To designate Critical Habitat to promote their recovery • 1,831,820 acres across 17 counties • Mostly on federal land
Sierra yellow-legged frog and northern population of mountain yellow-legged frog • Historically abundant across much of the higher elevations within the Sierra Nevada. • Currently restricted to publicly managed lands at high elevations. • Threats: • Habitat degradation and fragmentation • predation and disease • changes in temperature and precipitation • inadequate regulatory protections • Recreation is not considered a threat.
Yosemite toad • Found at high elevations (5-12,000 ft) from Alpine County to Fresno County. • Mainly on Federal land. • Population declines throughout its range. • Threats: habitat degradationand loss due to conifer encroachment and grazing. • Recreation is not considered a threat.
Definitions Endangered Any species in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Mountain yellow-legged frog Threatened Any species likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. Yosemite Toad Critical HabitatSpecific geographic areas with physical and biological features essential to the conservation of a listed species. Critical habitat
The designation of critical habitatalerts the public and federal agencies to areas and features that are important for the recovery of the species. Proposed Critical Habitat for 3 Sierra Amphibians The actions of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitatdo not close or restrict access to public lands. If critical habitatremains functional, and threats to the species are relieved, the species has a chance to recover.
Economic Analysis • The Endangered Species Act requires that critical habitat is designated based upon the best scientific and commercial data available, after taking into consideration the economic impact, impact on national security, or any other relevant impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. • The intent of the draft economic analysis is to identify and analyze the potential economic impacts associated with the proposed critical habitat designation for the species.
Timeline Apr 24, 2013: Two proposed rules to list and designate critical habitat Apr 24 – Jun 24, 2013: First public comment period: 60 days Jul 18 – Nov 18, 2013: Second public comment period: 120 days Late Fall 2013: USFWS will make available to the public a draft economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat rule. Third public comment period (60 days) Two public meetings Public hearing
Timeline Winter/Spring 2014 Review all public comments received during the public comment periods Review and address the expert opinions of independent scientific experts Apr 24, 2014: Publication of final rules
Requested Information • Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning any threats (or lack thereof) to these species, and regulations that may be addressing those threats. • Additional information concerning the historical and current status, range, distribution, and population size of these species. • Any information on the biological or ecological requirements of these species, and ongoing conservation measures for these species and their habitats. • The factors that are the basis for making a listing determination for a species under section 4(a) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which are: • The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; • Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; • Disease or predation; • The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or • Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. • The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as critical habitat for these species. • For a more complete list of requested information, please visit www.fws.gov/sacramento
How to Submit Comments: Comments can be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The Docket Number for the proposed listing rule is FWS–R8–ES–2012–0100 and for the proposed critical habitat rule is FWS–R8–ES–2012–0074. Comments can also be sent by U.S. mail to: Public Comments Processing FWS–R8–ES–2012–0100 or FWS–R8–ES–2012–0074 Division of Policy and Directives Management U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM Arlington, VA 22203 Verbal comments will be recorded during a public hearing, scheduled for the fall. Written comments can be accepted during any of the public comment periods.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation. • For more information on these proposals, please visit www.fws.gov/sacramento/newsroom.htm • For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/cno • Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/usfwspacificsouthwest • Follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSPacSWest • Watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws; and • Download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/.