California commission lists yellow-legged frog as endangered

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — There’s new hope for an endangered California frog that has vanished from half of its habitat.

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The state Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday approved protections for five of six populations of the foothill yellow-legged frog.

The Center for Biological Diversity had sought protection for the stream-dwelling amphibians under California’s Endangered Species Act.

The commission voted to list the frogs as endangered in the Southern Sierra, central and southern coasts. Populations in the Northern Sierra and the Feather River will be listed as threatened.

The commission determined that frogs on the state’s northern coast “do not currently warrant protection,” the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement.

The tiny, pebbly-skinned frogs were once found from Los Angeles County to the Oregon border but their populations have shrunk thanks to threats from human encroachment, dams, climate change, pollution and activities ranging from logging and mining to marijuana growing.

Two related species of native frogs that inhabit higher elevations — the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and the mountain yellow-legged frog — are already listed federally and by the state as endangered or threatened.