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CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good
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Action timeline

1999 – The Center and Christians Caring for Creation filed suit to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to designate critical habitat for seven endangered species, including the arroyo toad.

March 2000 – The Center reached a landmark settlement with the U.S. Forest Service that protected more than 50 endangered species within southern California's four national forests. The settlement included an agreement for the Los Padres National Forest to close approximately 10 percent of its campgrounds to protect arroyo toad and California red-legged frog habitat. In the same month, the Center and its allies filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management, charging that the agency refused to rein in overgrazing on 11 million acres of southern California desert, pushing 24 endangered species toward extinction — including the desert tortoise, Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep, desert slender salamander and arroyo toad.

June 8, 2000 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service proposed to designate 478,419 acres of critical habitat for the arroyo toad. In the same month, the Center and the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment filed suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Newhall Corporation to stop the massive Westridge development project in the Santa Clara River Valley, approximately 30 miles north of Los Angeles. The project threatened the unarmored three-spine stickleback, San Fernando Valley spineflower, southwestern arroyo toad and other endangered species.

February 7, 2001 – The Center and Christians Caring for Creation won 182,360 acres of critical habitat protection for the arroyo toad. After a building-industry lawsuit, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed all critical habitat protections. The Center and Defenders of Wildlife intervened in the case.

March 2001 – The Center convinced the Bureau of Land Management to close a sand and gravel mine to protect one of the few remaining toad populations within the California Desert Conservation Area.

April 28, 2004 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a proposed designation of 138,713 acres of critical habitat for the arroyo toad.

April 13, 2005 – For the second time, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated critical habitat for the arroyo toad. The final designation included only 11,695 acres, despite evidence that this small area would be insufficient to provide for the conservation or recovery of the species.

August 28, 2007 – The Center submitted a notice of intent to sue the Service regarding the arroyo toad’s dramatically reduced 2005 critical habitat designation, along with 54 other Endangered Species Act decisions that ignored science and denied adequate protections to imperiled species.

November 15, 2007 – The Service reversed the toad’s 2005 critical habitat decision, announcing that it would reconsider protections for the toad and five other endangered species affected by Interior Department misdeeds.

December 19, 2007 – The Center sued to challenge illegal decisions slashing critical habitat for 13 species, including the arroyo toad.
June 5, 2008 – The Center reached a settlement with the Fish and Wildlife Service in which the agency agreed to propose a new critical habitat designation for the toad by October 2009, with a final decision due by October 2010.

October 9, 2009 – The Service proposed more than 109,000 acres of critical habitat for the arroyo toad in seven California counties.

August 2009 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a report recommending downlisting California’s rare arroyo toad from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act — yet the report provided no data showing that populations of arroyo toads had rebounded enough. Only 23 populations existed.

July 14, 2010 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released an analysis of the cost for designating critical habitat for the arroyo toad — without mentioning the benefits of the action, such as protecting clean water and open space.

February 8, 2011 – The Service finalized a new critical habitat designation for the arroyo toad of 98,366 acres.

Photo © Jason Jones