Anti-Wildfire Project Tabled Over Rare Frogs
Forest Service project may hurt endangered species
By Jenn Gidman, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2014 2:30 PM CDT
Updated Aug 11, 2014 2:40 PM CDT
This image provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service shows a mountain yellow-legged frog.   (AP Photo/USFish and Wildlife Service)

(Newser) – US officials are balancing forest-fire risk against the need to preserve an endangered species near Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevadas, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reports. Per a stipulation signed by a judge last week, the US Forest Service will delay its tree-thinning project there until it consults with the US Fish and Wildlife Service on whether a particular frog is being put at risk. The yellow-legged frog, already an endangered species, has a "designated critical habitat" on land in the Upper Echo Lakes where officials have been burning or taking away trees to reduce the chance of wildfires.

Biologist Dennis Murphy—whose lawsuit started the case, and who owns a seasonal home at Upper Echo Lake—said in a statement cited by the AP that the Forest Service "put on blinders to the impacts of the project hoping no one would notice." Murphy also accused officials of not doing their due diligence of studying how the tree-burning would affect the frog species and its natural habitat (the frog was once the "most abundant amphibian in the high mountain lakes of the Sierra Nevada," notes the National Park Service). The Forest Service, which declined to comment, wrapped up about 40% of the project before the government closed it down. (Elsewhere, say hello to the world's newest toad.)

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Lou Bernardo
Aug 18, 2014 8:06 PM CDT
Import some Cane frogs from Australia and they'll eventually overrun the area. Let homes burn to the ground in wild fires, the frogs are more important. Better yet ban building homes in wildfire area. One of the above makes sense.
Aug 12, 2014 11:31 AM CDT
So if the trees burn down what will the frogs do? Will they be better off with no trees or with fewer trees? Or will they just die regardless because their life on earth is done, like many other species before them. What caused all those species to go extinct? Natural selection,(or for creationists,) God's will?
Aug 11, 2014 5:23 PM CDT
Why is the name of the idiot judge who makes such a stupid decision never mentioned? I will: Judge Garland Burrell, Jr. He is the same judge who sentenced Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, to four life sentences plus 30 years in prison. How about sending the frogs to prison so that tree-thinning can begin and avoid the inevitable future loss of thousands of acres of forests?