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Habitat help proposed for famous frog(proves the Endangered Species Act needs to be overhauled) ^ | Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Francis P. Garland

Posted on 04/14/2004 6:38:51 PM PDT by RickGolden

Habitat help proposed for famous frog

If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's latest attempt to designate critical habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog looks familiar, it should.

With only a few exceptions, it's the same proposal put forth three years ago and then found legally deficient, for the most part, a year later.

This time, however, San Joaquin County has been excluded from the 4.1 million acre proposal. Federal officials say San Joaquin County's Multi-Species Habitat Conservation & Open Space Plan, designed to preserve habitat for a variety of species including those at risk for extinction, will adequately protect the red-legged frog.

Although the Fish and Wildlife Service defines critical habitat as areas essential to conserve struggling species, spokesman Al Donner acknowledged Tuesday that critical-habitat designations have provided little additional protection to most listed species over the 30 years of implementing the Endangered Species Act.

In fact, the agency noted that the process prevents it from using scarce conservation resources for activities with greater conservation benefits.

Brian Kennedy, spokesman for the House Resources Committee that is led by U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, said that acknowledgement proves the Endangered Species Act needs to be overhauled.

"There most definitely has to be a better way to do this," he said.

"When you have the lead agency in charge of protecting species and implementing the Endangered Species Act saying the biggest tool in their tool bag is useless, yet they're forced by law to continue to use it, you have a real problem." ::: Advertisement :::

Craig Thomas, director of the Sierra Nevada Forest Protection Campaign, termed "ludicrous" the Fish and Wildlife Service's claim that critical habitat designations have not helped protect endangered species.

"Species need a place to live in order to recover," said Thomas.

"This is a direct attempt by the Bush administration to evade the consequences of stepping up to the plate and acting in time to protect species in the appropriate fashion."

The new Fish and Wildlife Service proposal for red-legged frog habitat also does not include any land in Calaveras County, despite the fact that several of the rare frogs were found in the fall on a ranch there.

Officials had been keeping that location hush-hush, but a Fish and Wildlife Service document released Tuesday placed the frogs in Youngs Creek in western Calaveras County.

Robert Stack, executive director of the Jumping Frog Research Institute, who has been working with the local rancher who found frogs on his land, said he's not sure 4.1 million acres is the correct amount to designate as critical habitat. The institute, based in Calaveras County, conducts research on amphibians, particularly the red-legged frog.

"We need an amount sufficient to ensure the recovery of the frog," said Stack. "And I personally don't know how large it should be."

Although Calaveras County -- immortalized by Mark Twain's famous short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" -- is not included in the latest proposal, portions of it could show up in the final habitat designation, which is expected by November 2005.

The latest proposal, which focuses on lands considered essential to help save the frog, is open for public comment through June 14.

However, it includes no economic impact analysis -- and one isn't expected to be available for public review until early next year, Donner said.

Land designated as critical habitat would not be set aside as a preserve or refuge, but it could be subject to special management depending on how the landowner wants to use it, particularly if a project involves federal permits or federal funding.

The Fish and Wildlife Service said budget constraints and a deadline set by the federal court that overturned the original habitat decision prompted the agency to roll out essentially the same proposal it made three years ago.

But that explanation angered some, particularly the Home Builders Association of Northern California, which successfully challenged the Fish and Wildlife Service's 2001 effort in court.

Paul Campos, an attorney for the homebuilders group, called the latest proposal "disgraceful" and criticized the agency for not releasing the economic analysis at the same time it released its proposed land designations.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: act; endangered; environment; envirowhackos; esa; propertyrights; species

1 posted on 04/14/2004 6:38:52 PM PDT by RickGolden
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To: RickGolden
Which famous frog? Kermit? Or one of the Busweiser frogs?
2 posted on 04/14/2004 6:42:48 PM PDT by bayourod (To 9/11 Commission: Unless you know where those WMDs are, don't bet my life that they don't exist.)
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To: RickGolden; farmfriend; SierraWasp; Carry_Okie
The red legged frog strikes again.
3 posted on 04/14/2004 6:42:55 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: RickGolden
Government Not Reporting Billions Spent on Endangered Species Act, Study Shows; Legal Group Calls for True Accounting of ESA

4/14/2004 10:11:00 AM

To: National Desk, Environment Reporter

Contact: Dawn Collier of Pacific Legal Foundation, 916-362-2833, ext. 3029; Web:

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Pacific Legal Foundation today called for a true accounting of the Endangered Species Act, pointing to a study released today showing that billions of dollars in costs spent enforcing and complying with the ESA are not being reported to Congress or the American people. The study, Accounting for Species: Calculating the True Costs of the Endangered Species Act, was conducted by the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC). PERC researchers found that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) grossly underreported federal and state ESA costs in its recent report to Congress, and completely ignored the private economic and social costs of ESA compliance, which together easily total billions of dollars a year.

The ESA requires the FWS to report to Congress annually on ESA expenditures by federal agencies and states receiving grants under the Act. In December, 2003, FWS released its Three-Year Summary of Federal and State Endangered Species Expenditures, Fiscal Years 1998-2000, to account for three years of missed reports.

PERC researchers found that the FWS report does not provide an accurate or comprehensive assessment of the true costs of the ESA. For example, the FWS reports that in 2000, state and federal expenditures totaled $610.3 million. PERC estimates that the actual government costs annually are as much as four times greater-or $2.4 billion. FWS also reports that in the 11 years from 1989 to 2000, just over $3.5 billion of taxpayer dollars was spent on ESA-related activities. According to PERC, the actual cost of protecting species, adding private costs to government expenditures, may easily reach or exceed $3.5 billion per year.

"PERC's study shows that the government has no idea what the ESA is truly costing, but it does give us an idea of the enormous human costs of ESA regulation-and they're often devastating. People have lost their jobs, businesses, homes, farms, and even their lives to protect plants, insects, and fish," said Emma T. Suarez , an attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest legal organization that is a national leader in the effort to raise awareness of the ESA's impact on people.

"The government is accountable to the people, and good law takes people into account," said Suarez. "When it comes to the ESA, a true accounting for the law's impact on Americans begins with Fish and Wildlife Service doing a better job at collecting the information it is supposed to collect under the law. Furthermore, the ESA needs to be changed so that information on impacts to local governments, communities, and individuals is also collected."

"We're asking the government to account to the people for a failed law that ignores human values," added Suarez.

"The FWS report does not come close to accounting for the true costs to taxpayers and consumers of complying with the ESA," said report authors Dr. Randy T. Simmons, a Senior Associate at PERC and a political science professor at Utah State University, and Kimberly Frost. Dr. Simmons has studied the Endangered Species Act extensively and is the author of a book on endangered species written for high school students.

"We've spent trillions of dollars on the ESA and the few species that have been delisted were not removed because of ESA protections. Taxpayers deserve to know if we're getting what we pay for. An honest public dialogue about the value and effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act must take into account the costs incurred by taxpayers and the people being regulated. The government is ignoring the human costs in the ESA equation," added Simmons and Frost.


According to PERC's study, FWS omits the following critical information in its 2003 cost report:

-- Not Reported: Actual costs to taxpayers; only estimates are provided.

-- Not Reported: Government-wide costs. Only a handful of federal agencies and departments affected by the ESA reported expenditures to FWS. Costs that benefit multiple species, staff salaries and operations are not reported.

-- Not Reported: Costs to taxpayers of litigating ESA cases.

-- Not Reported: Costs to state and local entities of implementing species recovery. State and local governments are responsible for much of the implementation of the ESA. However, because there are no standardized or required reporting procedures, only state and local expenditures voluntarily reported are estimated in the report.

-- Not Reported: Additional costs to local governments from ESA-caused interference with building schools, hospitals, roads, and other infrastructure projects.

-- Not Reported: Costs to private landowners. 75 percent of all listed species have portions or all of their habitat on privately owned land, and FWS regulates 38 million acres of private land through conservation plans. Landowners are not compensated for their losses from ESA regulations, yet these enormous costs are not included in the FWS report.

-- Not Reported: Private costs such as development projects being denied, delayed, or their scope reduced, which result in higher home prices. Higher home prices and increased commute times cost consumers in their pocketbook and day-to-day quality of life. Consumers on the lowest end of the housing affordability spectrum disproportionately bear this burden.

-- Not Reported: Economic and social costs from regulatory burdens placed on agricultural production, water use, forest management, and mineral extraction. Costs to private industry are enormous and are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. The costs to individuals who earn their livelihoods in these industries is devastating. Farmers in the Klamath Basin lost an estimated $53.9 million of crop value in 2001 when their irrigation was cut off to protect fish.

-- Not Reported: Lost jobs, business, and tax revenue. FWS does not report the costs of regulation that causes reduced business activities, reduced personal income and tax revenues, and costs of public assistance provided to individuals who have lost jobs. At least 130,000 jobs were lost when more than 900 sawmills, pulp, and paper mills closed in mid-1990 to protect the northern spotted owl.

-- Not Reported: Costs of protecting foreign species.


According to PERC, 50 percent of the total expenditures reported by FWS for 2000 are for the top seven species, or just 0.6 percent of the ESA list. Salmon species are by far the costliest, accounting for the top five most expensive species in 2000. Fish make up a full eight of the top ten.


According to FWS, as of December, 2003, 1,260 U.S. species were listed as endangered and only 15 have been delisted. PERC reports that the majority of the 15 delisted species were delisted because of original listing data errors, such as inaccurate government surveys that undercount a species later found to never have been endangered. Other species were conserved by state agencies or private organizations.

4 posted on 04/14/2004 6:44:44 PM PDT by RickGolden
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To: RickGolden
So... what happens when a red-legged frog gets eaten by a spotted owl?
5 posted on 04/14/2004 6:48:32 PM PDT by irishtenor (Taglines for sale - please inquire within.)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Time for landowners to observe the "3S" rule to protect their land from government ESA rules or confiscation:
Shoot, shovel, shut-up.
6 posted on 04/14/2004 6:55:13 PM PDT by CedarDave (Democrat campaign strategy: Tell a lie often enough today and it becomes truth tomorrow.)
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To: CedarDave
Good rule, I would say!
7 posted on 04/14/2004 7:01:29 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach (The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States - and war is what they got!!!!)
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To: RickGolden
This time, however, San Joaquin County has been excluded from the 4.1 million acre proposal. Federal officials say San Joaquin County's Multi-Species Habitat Conservation & Open Space Plan, designed to preserve habitat for a variety of species including those at risk for extinction, will adequately protect the red-legged frog.

I found a picture.
8 posted on 04/14/2004 7:02:09 PM PDT by Paleo Conservative (Do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: Paleo Conservative
The celebrated flip floping frog of Calaveras County
9 posted on 04/14/2004 7:06:49 PM PDT by nkycincinnatikid
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To: RickGolden
"Species need a place to live in order to recover."
Of course they do. That's why the immigration rate of 1-1/2 million yearly is excessive. It takes essential habitat away from the red-legged frog. If there Fish & Wildife people were actually serious about preserving habitat, they would be vocal about the need to stop immigration, both legal and illegal. But they're not, because this is a combination of "power grab" and job-for-life."
10 posted on 04/14/2004 7:22:45 PM PDT by henderson field
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To: farmfriend
Land Grab!!!
11 posted on 04/14/2004 7:27:31 PM PDT by GeronL (Dr. Pepper Fiend)
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To: RickGolden
I've got frogs in my backyard. I have a red Magic Marker. Problem solved.
12 posted on 04/14/2004 7:28:59 PM PDT by Focault's Pendulum (Have you been thwarted today???)
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To: RickGolden
I will admit that I did not read all of the endangered article. However, I have often wondered, what if one dinosaur was roaming earth, would we have to give it multiply life? Would we drive our freeways looking out for tyrannosaurus?
13 posted on 04/14/2004 7:32:44 PM PDT by katz (Even on drugs Rush is Right)
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To: irishtenor
Spotted Owl tastes like chicken.
14 posted on 04/14/2004 8:06:23 PM PDT by Trteamer ( (Eat Meat, Wear Fur, Own Guns, FReep Leftists, Drive an SUV, Drill A.N.W.R., Drill the Gulf, Vote)
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To: RickGolden; abbi_normal_2; Ace2U; adam_az; Alamo-Girl; Alas; alfons; alphadog; amom; AndreaZingg; ..
Rights, farms, environment ping.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this list.
I don't get offended if you want to be removed.
15 posted on 04/14/2004 8:12:07 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: Trteamer
I thought it tasted like eagle. Oh well. Anyway, the question was "What happens when a red-legged frog gets eaten by a spotted owl"?

He croaks :>)
16 posted on 04/14/2004 8:40:25 PM PDT by irishtenor (Taglines for sale - please inquire within.)
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To: farmfriend
17 posted on 04/15/2004 3:02:26 AM PDT by E.G.C.
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