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Showing posts from May, 2014

Endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog sited adjacent to Upper Echo Lake

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In a report issued in 2011, the U.S. Forest Service indicated that two Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frogs were sited approximately 1 kilometer from Upper Echo Lake.  The species was listed as endangered by the Fish and Wildlife Service on April 29, 2014, as we explain here.  A portion of the map in the 2011 report that highlights the frog siting is set out below.

According to the fina listing rule, the frog is known to travel substantial distances in and adjacent to stream courses and, to a lesser extent, over upland areas at certain points in its life cycle.  A USGS map displaying Cagin Lake and the location of the frog sitings in relationship to Upper Echo Lake is set out below. These sitings together with the Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed rule designating the entire area as critical habitat for the frog provide strong evidence that the Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project is harming the species.

Court Signs Order Clarifying that No Cutting will Occur until Labor Day 2014 or Later

On May 15, 2014, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California signed a stipulation and order that extended the time for plaintiff Dr. Dennis Murphy and defendant the United States Forest Service to seek to settle a pending lawsuit over the Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project.  The stipulation and order clarify that the Forest Service will not engage in additional tree cutting at Upper Echo Lake until Labor Day 2014, at the earliest, in order to allow the parties to continue settlement discussions and in light of an earlier request from the Echo Lakes Association to limit activity during the summer months.

Murphy submits new notice of intent to sue Forest Service for violations of the Endangered Species Act at Upper Echo Lake

Dr. Dennis Murphy has submitted to the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service a 60-day notice of intent to sue the Forest Service for proceeding with the Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project in spite of the recent Fish and Wildlife Service determination to list the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog.  The final rule provides that the Project site falls within the distribution of the species.  The proposed rule designating critical habitat for the species confirms this fact.  Although Forest Service personnel claimed, during the approval process for the Project, that no amphibians were present at the Project site, the facts belie this claim.  Further, a 2011 report by the Forest Service indicates that individual yellow-legged frogs were detected within less than a mile of Upper Echo Lake.