For Immediate Release, March 11, 2009
Contact: Rob Mrowka, (702) 249-5821, rmrowka@biologicaldiversity .org
Lawsuit Will Be Filed to Protect the
Amargosa Toad Under the Endangered Species Act
LAS VEGAS, Nev.— Today the Center for Biological Diversity and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility sent the U.S. Department of the Interior a formal notice of intent to sue to force the agency to respond to a petition seeking protection for the Amargosa toad under the Endangered Species Act. The Amargosa toad is only found in Nevada and is at imminent risk of extinction.
The conservation groups petitioned the Interior Department to list the Amargosa toad under the Endangered Species Act on February 26, 2008, triggering a deadline for the Department to make the required “90-day finding” on the petition. The Department has further violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to issue a 12-month finding for the species.
“The Amargosa toad is a delicate desert amphibian threatened by livestock grazing, off-road vehicles, water withdrawals, and other development in the Amargosa River system,” said Rob Mrowka, ecologist and conservation advocate with the Center. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to violate the Endangered Species Act by failing to review and issue a finding on our petition to protect it.”
The entire known geographic range of the Amargosa toad is restricted to wet areas, springs, and adjacent desert uplands in a 10-mile stretch of the Amargosa River and interconnected spring systems in the Oasis Valley in Nevada. Fewer than 20 breeding populations have been found near the Amargosa River and surrounding springs in the Bullfrog Hills in the Oasis Valley in Nye County, Nevada. The remaining habitat contains about 8,440 acres of riparian and adjacent upland habitat that faces imminent decline due to numerous impacts.
Threats to the Amargosa toad include ongoing destruction and modification of its remaining habitat by urban, residential, and recreational development, as well as introduction of nonnative predators, ground disturbance and vegetation removal from grading, grazing, and off-road use, water diversions, and accelerated drying caused by climate change.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 200,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.