For Immediate Release
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San Francisco, CA - 17-December-2011. A coalition of California environmental groups are outraged that San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee is refusing to meet with them to discuss recently passed environmental legislation that he is threatening to veto. The legislation, which was passed by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, initiates the process of protecting the Sharp Park Wetlands and the endangered California Red-Legged Frogs and San Francisco Garter Snakes that live there. The city currently operates a golf course on the property. The course was built on top of the wetlands, which the city currently pumps out to sea to improve playing conditions – at the expense of the multitude of wildlife species that depend on the site's rare wetland habitat. Mayor Lee, a golfer, has not met with any or returned phone calls of any representatives of the Wild Equity Institute, Save The Frogs, the Center for Biological Diversity or the National Parks Conservancy Association.
The legislation paves the way for the closure of the Sharp Park Golf Course, and the turning over of the management of the land to the National Park Service. Over 95% of California's coastal wetlands have been destroyed or damaged, and Sharp Park has been called one of California's most valuable restoration opportunities. The federally endangered California Red-Legged Frogs that persist at Sharp Park are killed when their egg masses get stranded on land during the City's pumping operations and when tadpoles get sucked through the pumps and out to sea. The Red-Legged Frogs have disappeared from much of Southern California, the Central Valley and the Sierra Foothills. The frogs were nearly eaten to extinction in the 1890's by California gold miners. Now they are threatened by habitat destruction, roadkill and non-native species such as mosquitofish and American Bullfrogs, both of which are voracious predators of the Red-Legged frogs.
While the Mayor contemplates an unpopular veto, the City is currently being sued for illegally killing endangered wildlife at the golf course, which loses over $100,000 per year. Social justice groups say closing the golf course would allow San Francisco to direct more money to youth programs in the City. The Mayor's office has received thousands of emails from around the world in recent weeks asking him to protect the wetlands, and many San Franciscans fear a veto would compromise the City's worldwide reputation as a progressive leader.
Kerry Kriger, Ph.D.
SAVE THE FROGS! Founder, Executive Director and Ecologist
Phone (USA, messages get forwarded): (831) 621-6215
Phone (within Ghana): 026-800-9959
SAVE THE FROGS! (www.savethefrogs.com) is America's first and only public charity dedicated to amphibian conservation. The mission of SAVE THE FROGS! is to protect amphibian populations and to promote a society that respects and appreciates nature and wildlife.
Any photo from savethefrogs.com can be used; credit should be given to savethefrogs.com. High resolution images available upon request.