In 2009, SAVE THE FROGS! supporters sent in over 700 comment letters to the National Park Service (NPS) urging them to remove non-native fish from over 60 water bodies in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. This constituted over 95% of the comments received by the NPS and paved the way for federal action to assist threatened Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs (Rana muscosa). It took the NPS seven years to make a decision…but they decided to assist the frogs by removing non-native fish from the parks, and in 2016 released this Record of Decision. The NPS’ announcement of the decision is below. Victory for the frogs! Thank you to all our supporters who submitted comment, and thank you to the NPS for taking action for amphibians.
Photo of Mountain Yellow-Legged Frogs courtesy Dr. Vance Vredenburg
From the National Park Service:
“Dear Sir or Madam:
I am pleased to announce the completion of the Restoration of Native Species in High Elevation Aquatic Ecosystems Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (Restoration Plan/EIS) for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (SEKI). The final step was taken on August 23, 2016 with the signing of the Record of Decision (ROD) by the National Park Service’s (NPS) Pacific West Regional Director Laura Joss. Alternative B from the Restoration Plan/FEIS is the Selected Action. The ROD is attached to this notification email.
The Selected Action allows us to use a variety of methods to restore and conserve the native species diversity and ecological function of selected high elevation aquatic ecosystems that have been adversely impacted by human activities (i.e., the introduction of nonnative fish) and to increase the resistance and resilience of native species and ecosystems to disease and unprecedented climate change. Removing nonnative fish is a key component of the Selected Action. While physical treatment methods such as gill-netting and electrofishing are our preferred methods to remove nonnative fish, the Selected Action allows for the use of piscicides in specific areas where physical methods cannot accomplish project objectives. In addition, we will be implementing restoration and recovery actions in order to recover the two endangered species of mountain yellow-legged frogs that inhabit the high elevation ecosystems in SEKI.
In reaching a decision on the Selected Action, we carefully considered the multiple laws and policies that apply to the administration of NPS lands, the protection of wilderness character, endangered species preservation and management, the large body of scientific information regarding the impacts of nonnative trout and the use of piscicides, and the public comments we received during the planning process.
The management strategies contained within the Selected Action are adaptive and dynamic, allowing us to incorporate new scientific information over time to best meet the objectives of the restoration program. During implementation, the effectiveness of this plan will be reviewed periodically to evaluate new species information, scientific findings, habitat information, and restoration and monitoring results. Following each review, the plan will be revised as necessary to address emerging issues and incorporate new information into the management strategies. Additional public involvement or/and tiered environmental compliance will occur as appropriate.
The Selected Action will be implemented starting in fall 2016 as new areas are slated for fish removal using physical methods; piscicide treatments at selected sites will be implemented starting in summer of 2017 or 2018.
For more information, the Record of Decision and the final Restoration Plan/FEIS are available on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/aquatics.
Environmental Compliance and Planning Office
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
47050 Generals Highway
Three Rivers, CA 93271
September 22, 2016″
Dr. Kerry Kriger is the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!, a nonprofit organization that has held over 2,000 educational events in 57 countries to raise awareness of the world’s rapidly disappearing amphibian populations. He is also a musician who has been studying, teaching, recording and performing the classical music of northern India on bamboo flute since 1996. Dr. Kriger holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and has traveled to over 65 countries. His nonprofit efforts in western Africa led him to being inducted as Chief of Environment and Development in the remote village of Yawkrom, in the Western Region of Ghana.