Cascades Frog Takes Another Leap Toward Listing under CESA
Posted in Listing

On October 17, 2017, the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) published notice of its preliminary positive finding on a petition to list the Cascades frog (Rana cascadae) as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  The Cascades frog inhabits a variety of habitats—including large lakes, ponds, wet meadows and streams—at mid-to-high elevations from the Klamath-Trinity region, along the Cascades Range axis in the vicinity of Mt. Shasta, southward to the headwater tributaries of the Feather River.  The California populations of the Cascades frog are understood to be genetically distinct from the populations in Oregon and Washington.  The listing process for the frog was initiated by a March 2017 listing petition from the Center for Biological Diversity to the Commission.  In July 2017, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recommended that the Commission advance the species to candidacy, and in October the Commission voted to advance the species to candidate status, thus triggering the aforementioned notice.  The Commission’s decision also triggered a 12-month species status review by CDFW that will be used to inform the Commission’s ultimate determination of whether to list the species under CESA.  This status review process includes the solicitation of public comments regarding the frog’s biology and threats, the adequacy of existing management, and recommendations for management of the species.  Public comments and data related to the potential listing of the frog will be accepted for the next 12 months.

The Center for Biological Diversity separately petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in April 2012 to list the Cascades frog under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).  In July 2015, USFWS reached a preliminary positive finding that the species’ listing may be warranted, and USFWS is currently undertaking its own federal species status review of the frog.  The USFWS ESA National Listing Workplan, which lays out USFWS’ planned listing and critical habitat decisions over the next six years, indicates that USFWS plans to reach a 12-month finding on the Center for Biological Diversity petition regarding the Cascades frog in fiscal year 2022.

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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