For Immediate Release, July 14, 2010
Contact: Ileene Anderson, (323) 490-0223, firstname.lastname@example.org
Government Ignores Benefits of Protecting Arroyo Toad
LOS ANGELES— The federal government’s latest estimate for the cost of providing critical habitat for California’s endangered arroyo toad fails to examine any of the economic benefits of such an action. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s recent draft economic analysis offers widely divergent estimates for designating critical habitat for the toad: from zero to $67 million. Ignored, though, are any benefits, including protecting clean water and open space.
“With this lopsided review, the Obama administration is continuing in the footsteps of its Bush predecessors,” said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity who has worked to save the toad from extinction. “These widely varying costs still fail to include the economic benefits of establishing critical habitat for this highly imperiled amphibian, which exists nowhere else. The analysis, like many others, tends to blur the line between costs associated with the endangered species and the very separate costs of designating its critical habitat.”
Currently, only 23 populations of arroyo toads survive, scattered from San Luis Obispo to San Diego counties. When the arroyo toad was listed under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1994, it had lost more than 75 percent of its historic habitat to development, and further reductions have occurred since then. Now the animals persist only in small, isolated populations in the headwaters of coastal streams.
Critical habitat is an essential tool in helping to implement the federal recovery plan for this species. A recent scientific study shows that endangered species with critical habitat are twice as likely to recover as species that do not have critical habitat.
The arroyo toad is a small, dark-spotted amphibian that uses California streams and riverside forests for reproduction, foraging and dispersal. Threats to the species include dams and reservoirs, roads, mining, agriculture, urbanization, and recreational facilities, off-highway vehicle parks, grazing, nonnative invasive species, disease and drought.
Public comment will be accepted on the economic analysis and the proposed critical habitat designation until July 29, 2010.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 255,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.