For Immediate Release, June 2, 2010
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nearly 2,000 Acres Proposed for Protection for Endangered Mississippi Gopher Frog
GULFPORT, Miss.— In response to a lawsuit from the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed designation of 1,957 acres in coastal Mississippi as protected critical habitat for the highly endangered Mississippi gopher frog. The gopher frog is known from just three sites in Mississippi.
“Designation of critical habitat gives the Mississippi gopher frog a chance at survival,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “The frog is in need of all the protection it can get from massive urban sprawl that is threatening its last habitats.”
The state of Mississippi and private developers with support from the federal government are in the process of building an entire town, called “Tradition,” in direct proximity to one of the only ponds where the Mississippi gopher frog still breeds. In April, the Center and Gulf Restoration Network put state and federal agencies on notice that they intend to file suit if more is not done to ensure the town does not drive the frog to extinction.
“Today’s proposed designation of critical habitat certainly supports the notion that more needs to be done to ensure that urban sprawl does not drive the Mississippi gopher frog to extinction,” said Greenwald. “The planned town needs to be moved further from the frog’s pond and have concrete plans to ensure that prescribed burns needed for the frog’s habitat can move forward and people don’t disturb the pond.”
The Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Mississippi gopher frog as a federally endangered species in 2001. Once prevalent throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, the Mississippi gopher frog (Rana sevosa) is nearly extinct, mainly due to habitat loss. According to recent surveys, there may not be many more than 100 adults frogs of this unique species left on earth.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 260,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. www.biologicaldiversity.org