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Action timeline

1992 – Independent frog biologists petitioned to list the California red-legged frog as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act. When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service failed to respond to the petition, the Center and other conservation groups filed a lawsuit that forced a listing.

May 23, 1996 – The Center won protection of the red-legged frog as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

2000 – The Center filed a lawsuit to force the Service to designate critical habitat for the red-legged frog.

March 6, 2001 – After a federal court ordered the Service to designate critical habitat, the Service designated more than 4.1 million acres as critical habitat for the frog throughout California, including 29 separate areas spanning 28 California counties and over 500 miles of streams and rivers. Subsequently, building-industry groups filed a lawsuit aimed at dismantling the frog’s critical habitat protection and the Center intervened in the lawsuit to force re-designation of critical habitat.

November 6, 2002 – The Service settled the development-industry lawsuit, reversed the critical habitat decision and removed protection from all occupied frog habitat. The settlement left only 199,000 acres that were unoccupied by frogs as critical habitat. The Center was able to force a deadline to revise the critical habitat. The Service published a final recovery plan for the red-legged frog. With no apparent sense of irony, the recovery plan advocated protecting suitable habitats within all core areas for the frog, almost all the very areas it had removed from the critical habitat designation.

April 13, 2004 – The Service proposed to re-designate the original 4.14 million acres as critical habitat.  

November 3, 2005 – The Service revised the critical habitat proposal to 737,912 acres. 

April 13, 2006 – The Service designated final critical habitat protection for the frog of only 450,288 acres in 20 counties. The Service cited a biased and controversial economic analysis as justification for cutting the original designation by 90 percent.

August 28, 2007 – The Center submitted a notice of intent to sue the Service for slashing the frog’s critical habitat, as well as for making illegal decisions regarding protections for 54 other imperiled species.

November 2007 – Under pressure brought about by the Center and the media highlighting Interior Department corruption, the Service announced the reversal of six illegal Endangered Species Act decisions. One of these decisions was the California red-legged frog’s 2006 critical habitat designation, which was slated for reconsideration.

December 19, 2007 – The Center sued to challenge illegal decisions slashing critical habitat for 13 species, including the California red-legged frog.

September 16, 2008 – The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to quadruple the frog’s critical habitat by designating about 1,804,865 acres.

September 24, 2008 – The Center filed a notice of intent to sue the city and county of San Francisco for illegally killing and harming the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake at Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica, California, in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

March 16, 2010 –In response to the Center’s 2009 suit, the Fish and Wildlife Service designated more than 1.6 million acres of critical habitat for the California red-legged frog in 28 California counties.

December 15, 2010 – The Center filed a notice of intent to sue the Service and EPA for failing to complete consultations or adopt measures to protect the California red-legged frog from 64 registered pesticides that the EPA had determined are likely to harm the frog.

October 19, 2011 – The Center followed through on our Dec. 2010 notice, suing both the EPA and the Service in defense of the frog.

November 4, 2013 – A federal district court approved a settlement today requiring the Service to better protect California red-legged frogs from seven common pesticides known to be highly toxic to amphibians. The settlement gives the agency two years to prepare “biological opinions” under the Endangered Species Act to analyze pesticide use in and near the frog’s aquatic and upland habitats.

Photo © John Sullivan, Ribbit Photography