Frog 1, weasel 0 as California considers species to protect

Sacramento BeeSeptember 15, 2010 

California wildlife officials Wednesday voted to consider the declining mountain yellow-legged frog as an endangered species. But they said the Pacific fisher, a forest carnivore, should not get that consideration.

The California Fish and Game Commission took those actions at its meeting Wednesday in Sacramento. The vote to consider the frog for protection under the state Endangered Species Act means it now becomes a "candidate" species under the law.

The frog, a native of the Sierra Nevada, has declined in population by more than 90 percent, according to surveys conducted since 1995. It is threatened by a variety of human activities, from the state's own fish-stocking practices to dam operations, water diversions, logging, pesticides and a deadly fungus.

The commission must decide within a year whether to formally list the frog as threatened or endangered. On Wednesday, it adopted emergency rules allowing activities such as logging and water operations to obtain exemptions from rules that would otherwise protect the frog during its candidacy.

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