************* CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
ALERT #200 8-27-99
§ CENTER SUES U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO PROTECT RARE
FISH AND FROG
§ CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT TO
SAVE RARE OHLONE TIGER BEETLE
§ AGRICULTURE LINKED TO RED-LEGGED FROG DECLINE IN CALIFORNIA
CENTER SUES U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE TO PROTECT RARE
FISH AND FROG
The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against
Bruce Babbitt and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
yesterday, seeking protection for the Gila chub and
Chiricahua leopard frog under the Endangered Species Act.
The Center and Sky Island Watch petitioned to have both
species listed in June of 1998. The Fish and Wildlife
Service refused to process the petitions, stating that both
species were already candidates for listing and thus the
petitions were redundant. Under the ESA, however, Fish and
Wildlife is required to make a finding as to whether a
species warrants listing both within one year of submission
of a petition and annually if a species is a candidate. They
have failed to take either of these actions in regards to
the chub and leopard frog.
The Gila chub, a large-bodied minnow up to 10 inches in
length, and the Chiricahua leopard frog, a dark-spotted frog
with a unique snore-like mating call, are dependent on slow
moving streams or cienegas with deep pools and overhanging
banks. The leopard frog also uses marshes, ponds, lakes, and
now likely in part because of loss of natural habitats,
cattle stock ponds.
Both species are imperiled by the continued degradation and
destruction of Southwest riparian areas by livestock
grazing, groundwater pumping, water diversion, and dams.
They are also threatened by exotic species, such as the bull
frog and the large-mouth bass, which compete with and prey
on the frog and fish. These factors have resulted in severe
range declines for the two animals. The Chiricahua leopard
frog is found in fewer than 90 isolated locations in Arizona
and New Mexico and the Gila chub is reduced to fewer than 15
small streams in central and southeastern Arizona.
The Center is represented by attorney Matt Kenna of Durango,
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT TO
SAVE RARE OHLONE TIGER BEETLE
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club
filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court on Thursday,
August 26 to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) to take action to protect the Ohlone tiger beetle, a
rare species which occurs only in five locations within
Santa Cruz County, California. Development and the incursion
of non-native species in the coastal terrace prairie, a wet
meadow habitat, are the major threats to the beetle.
The beetle may once have extended from southwestern San
Mateo County to northwestern Monterey County, California. At
this time, the estimated number of individuals of the
species is between 2,000 and 10,000 adults in any given
On April 30, 1998, researcher Grey Hayes submitted a formal
petition to the USFWS to list the Ohlone tiger beetle as an
endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The ESA requires that the USFWS make a ruling on whether to
protect the species within one year after a petition is
The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Brendan Cummings
of Berkeley and Kimberly Burr of Santa Rosa.
AGRICULTURE LINKED TO RED-LEGGED FROG DECLINE IN CALIFORNIA
Global decline of amphibians has been attributed to
everything from UV radiation to global warming. The first
concrete evidence that agriculture may play a role in this
decline was presented in June by Carlos Davidson of UC Davis
at a Society for Conservation Biology meeting. Davidson and
H. Bradley Shaffer, also of UC Davis, studied the case of
the California red-legged frog, which was once found from
the coast to the Sierra Nevada but today is restricted
chiefly to the central coast. They looked for links between
the frogs' decline at a given site and factors including UV
radiation, global warming, urbanization, and agriculture.
Agriculture had the strongest link to the red-legged frog
decline. Frogs were more likely to have died out at sites
that were upwind of greater amounts of agriculture,
suggesting that wind-borne agrochemicals may have caused the
frogs' decline. Davidson and Shaffer determined the
prevailing wind direction for each site and drew a 90-mile
long triangle facing into the wind for each site. They found
that in sites where red-legged frogs have died out, about
19% of this triangle was agricultural land. In contrast, for
sites where red-legged frogs still survive today, only about
3% of the triangle was agricultural land.
Davidson cautions that while these findings are significant,
they do not prove that agricultural chemicals are wiping out
red-legged frogs. "It's a huge leap to say that the amounts
of pesticides that get up to the Sierra Nevada kill frogs,"
he says. "But it's a pattern that suggests that we should
look into the role of pesticides in frog declines further."
Center for Biological Diversity
Tel: 520.623.5252, ext 302 Fax: 520.623.9797
PO Box 710, Tucson AZ 85702-0710 http://www.sw-center.org