Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, vice chair of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife, has issued the following statement in response to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to give three species of California frogs protections under the Endangered Species Act.
As a fourth generation family rancher and farmer, I know firsthand that Californians affected by the federal government's decision have a deep respect for the environment they live in. Unfortunately, this decision prioritizes the needs of frogs over people. It will harm the livelihoods of rural Californians by altering their way of life and possibly driving them off their land at a time when so many are struggling to survive.
"Though the federal government has already made its decision on the endangered species designations, it hasn't made a final ruling on designating which areas would be largely off limits to human activity. That ruling isn't expected until next year and I hope our representatives at the federal level will do everything they can to ensure that the economic needs of rural Californians are taken into account."
Last Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and a subspecies of the mountain yellow-legged frog will be listed as "endangered" and the Yosemite toad as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. These designations will become effective on June 30, 2014.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also proposed to designate 1,831,820 acres as "critical habitat" in order to protect the frogs. They can be found in streams, lakes, ponds, and meadows throughout California, including all nine counties represented by Assemblyman Bigelow. A final decision is expected to be made early next year.