The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has proposed (pdf) listing the Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). In addition, the Service has proposed (pdf) designating over 68,000 acres throughout Washington and Oregon as critical habitat for the species.
The Service cited ongoing habitat destruction as the primary threat to the Oregon spotted frog. Once ranging from British Columbia to northern California, the Oregon spotted frog’s historic range has declined by as much as 90 percent due to the filling of wetlands, hydrologic changes, reduced water quality, and vegetation changes.
The Oregon spotted frog is the most threatened frog species in the Pacific Northwest, and has already been listed as endangered under Washington law (pdf). The Service initially identified the Oregon spotted frog as a candidate for protection under the ESA in 1993. Last week’s proposed listing is the result of a 2011 settlement agreement between the Service and conservation groups requiring the Service to expedite review of hundreds of species on the candidate waiting list.
The Service will be receiving public comments on the proposed rules through October 28, 2013. A final decision is expected sometime next year.