Forest Service Issues Letter Committing to Seek a Programmatic Biological Opinion to Cover Agency Impacts on the Endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog
In a letter to persons that hold permits from the Forest Service dated June 23, 2014, the agency indicated it has initiated "formal consultation" under section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act with the Fish and Wildlife Service. The letter indicates that the Region 5 office has taken the lead in consulting with the Fish and Wildlife Service to develop "a programmatic Biological Assessment and Biological Opinion" to include affirmative Forest Service actions that may affect the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog. Among the recipients of the letter were persons who hold permits for cabins at Upper Echo Lake. It is unclear whether the Upper Echo Lake Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project will be among the "affirmative Forest Service actions" included in the consultation, although the Project is within the known historical distribution of the species, the Project area includes viable habitat for the species, the Project area is proposed for designation as critical habitat for the species, and surveys conducted by the El Dorado Irrigation District and described here indicate the species is present in the vicinity of Upper Echo Lake.