U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for the Oregon Spotted Frog

On May 11, 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issued a final rule designating approximately 65,038 acres and 20.3 river miles of critical habitat for the Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa).  The acres and river miles comprising the critical habitat designation are located in Whatcom, Skagit, Thurston, Skamania, and Klickitat Counties in Washington, and Wasco, Deschutes, Klamath, Lane, and Jackson Counties in Oregon.

According to the Service, the areas designated as critical habitat constitute the Service’s best assessment of the areas that meet the definition of critical habitat.  In the final rule, the Service states that it based its designation on the best available scientific data after taking into account the economic impact, national security impact, and other relevant impacts of specifying a particular area as critical habitat.

The Service listed the Oregon spotted frog as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) on August 29, 2014. According to the Service, all designated areas of critical habitat are known to have been occupied by the species at the time the species was listed in 2014.

The Service first proposed critical habitat for the species on August 29, 2013, with refinements to the proposal published on June 18, 2014. The proposal was thereafter peer reviewed in accordance with the Service’s peer review policy.  The final rule responds to comments from the peer reviewers, as well as to 114 comment letters received regarding the proposed designation.

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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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