[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
71°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 9
1983 - U.S. release of John Carpenter's "Christine;" blew up fake gas station in Valencia [watch scene (R)]


| Friday, Jan 8, 2016
Photo by Creed Clayton, USFWS biologist, Castaic Creek, Los Angeles County
Photo by Creed Clayton, USFWS biologist, Castaic Creek, Los Angeles County

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has changed its mind about a move to downgrade the status of the arroyo toad from “endangered” to merely “threatened.”

The toad, Anaxyrus californicus, occurs rarely these days in its natural habitat, which stretches from the Santa Clarita Valley and Ventura County on the north to Mexico on the south. It was listed as an endangered species in 1994.

Believing its population was on the rise, the Fish and Wildlife Service was poised to take it off of “endangered” status after receiving a petition from the Pacific Legal Foundation asking it to do so.

PLF, a conservative public-interest law firm that routinely challenges environmental regulations, filed the petition in 2011, claiming that the government’s latest five-year review warranted reclassification of the species. PLF sought reclassification of five other species at the same time (see below).

(Earlier this week, Fish and Wildlife downgraded the Florida manatee from endangered to threatened after being petitioned by PLF and a Florida business group to review the latest five-year data.)

arroyotoad2For the arroyo toad, Fish and Wildlife reviewed the latest five-year results (from 2009) and agreed with PLF’s assessment. The agency proposed a federal rule change in 2014 and put it out for public comment.

In their comments and peer reviews of the proposed rule, biologists and others argued that the data didn’t support the notion that the population was on the rise. If anything, they said, it’s scarcer than ever and in danger of going extinct.

“In my view, the (Fish and Wildlife) Service violated its standards in interpreting the 5-year review as cause for downlisting,” wrote Samuel Sweet, a biology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who was asked by Fish and Wildlife for a peer review.

“(The) document contains nothing that would constitute formal evidence for a change in status. If anything, the 5-year review cites moderate to severe ongoing threats at most of the 20 indicator populations the Service identified as needing to be stable for downlisting to be proposed.”

Sweet, who had performed field studies of amphibian breeding in Piru Creek and elsewhere, claimed that the proposal “contains a number of errors that indicate an unfamiliarity with the landscape,” particularly in the Santa Clarita-Ventura County area, as well as “a failure to note near-total reproductive failure across all northern populations in 2012, 2013 and 2014,” along with other issues related to predators and the drought.

In recommending the downgrade in 2014, Fish and Wildlife acknowledged threats from urban development, water diversions, predators and drought, but pointed to several conservation and management actions that were undertaken since the toad was first listed.

One such management action was effected by the U.S. Marine Corps, which wrote in support of the downgrade.

“I am pleased to find that the implementation (of our Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan) has benefited the arroyo toad on base and has been an important and effective management plan supporting regional recovery and conservation goals,” wrote D.F. Levi, head of environmental security at Camp Pendleton.

In the end, however, the combined measures haven’t been enough.

“New information gathered through a scientific, peer-review process shows that populations have not stabilized, have declined in some areas, and that the toad still faces the threat of extinction,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said in its latest statement on the matter.

“This announcement underscores that the Service is committed to using the best available scientific information to inform our decisions,” said Steve Henry, field supervisor of the Service’s Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with our federal, state and local partners to fully recover the arroyo toad.”

According to the statement, “recent data suggest arroyo toad populations have not stabilized and are declining in both the southern and northern portions of the species’ current range. These declines are apparent in the following basins of the species’ current known southern range: the Lower Santa Margarita River Basin, Upper San Luis Rey River Basin, Upper and Lower Santa Ysabel Creek Basins, Upper San Diego River Basin, Upper Sweetwater River Basin, and Upper and Lower Cottonwood Creek Basins. In the northern portions of the species’ range, including the Salinas River Basin, Santa Ynez River Basin and Santa Clara River Basin, recent data suggest similar population declines.  No long-term data are available pointing to population increases at other locations where the arroyo toad is known to exist.”

“No one would be happier than I if it was biologically defensible to downlist arroyo toads,” wrote the biology professor, Sweet. “But we are nowhere near that now.”

Fish and Wildlife published its decision in the Federal Register on Dec . 23, 2015.

 

* Pacific Legal Foundation’s petition of Dec. 19, 2011 sought delisting of the Inyo California towhee (Pipilo crissalis eremophilus), and reclassification from “endangered” to “threatened” for the arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus), Modoc sucker (Catostomus microps), Eriodictyon altissimum (Indian Knob mountainbalm), Astragalus jaegerianus (Lane Mountain milk-vetch), and Hesperocyparis abramsiana (Santa Cruz cypress).

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

3 Comments

  1. waterwatcher says:

    Interesting article. This is the toad that Newhall Land claimed did not exist on its Newhall Ranch property (just like other endangered species such as the spine flower and sun flower that where later proved to be there). During the Board of Supervisors hearings on the specific plan, Supervisor Yaroslavsky asked skeptically if the toads could read “no trespassing signs”, since they were found right night door.

  2. L Adams says:

    Yes, quite interesting. Twenty years ago I used to see these little cuties on my patios or driveway after a good soaking rain. I haven’t seen one in over 5 years & I live a little ways southeast of Camp Pendleton.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Friday, Dec 7, 2018
Dec. 11: Supes May OK Centennial at Tejon Ranch Development
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hear comments from the public about the proposed Centennial Specific Plan Project at their next meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Friday, Dec 7, 2018
DA’s, Amazon Settle Force-Fed Foie Gras Online Sales Case
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Friday that Amazon.com Inc. has agreed not to sell force-fed foie gras in California under a consumer protection settlement reached with her office and the Monterey County and Santa Clara County district attorney’s offices.
Friday, Dec 7, 2018
LA County Agrees to More Mental Health Help for Inmates
People with mental health issues and dementia who are released from Los Angeles County jails will be given medications and connections to organizations that can keep them from becoming homeless, according to an update of a settlement agreement reached Thursday.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1983 - U.S. release of John Carpenter's "Christine;" blew up fake gas station in Valencia [watch scene (R)]
1941 - Julius Dietzmann family of Castaic arrested as German enemy aliens [story]
Valencia-based H2scan has announced the Gen 5 System, a first of its kind hydrogen sensor package to help utilities monitor and protect their distribution transformers.
Valencia’s H2scan Unveils New Transformer Monitoring System
CalArts graduates are among the nominees for Golden Globe Awards the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced on Monday, recognizing excellence in domestic and foreign film and television.
CalArtians ‘Glow’ in 76th Golden Globes Nominations
The California Department of Education and the State Board of Education have launched the second version of the California School Dashboard, a website that gives parents, students and educators access to valuable school and district data.
State Launches 2018 School Dashboard; Hart Schools Score Well
The TMU Mustangs played a dominant defensive effort Thursday, holding Hope International scoreless in the third quarter of what became a 76-47 win.
TMU Women’s Basketball Team Nets Win Over Hope Int’l
The nonprofit Friends of Hart Park, in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, will present the 7th Annual Hart Holiday Boutique & Craft Fair at Hart Park on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Dec. 8-9: Holiday Boutique, Craft Fair at Hart Park
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will hear comments from the public about the proposed Centennial Specific Plan Project at their next meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 11: Supes May OK Centennial at Tejon Ranch Development
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Dec. 11, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Dec. 11: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Castaic School Board members held their Annual Organizational Meeting on Dec. 6, and elected officers and representatives of the Board for 2019.
Castaic School Board Elects Officers, Reps for 2019
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Friday that Amazon.com Inc. has agreed not to sell force-fed foie gras in California under a consumer protection settlement reached with her office and the Monterey County and Santa Clara County district attorney’s offices.
DA’s, Amazon Settle Force-Fed Foie Gras Online Sales Case
People with mental health issues and dementia who are released from Los Angeles County jails will be given medications and connections to organizations that can keep them from becoming homeless, according to an update of a settlement agreement reached Thursday.
LA County Agrees to More Mental Health Help for Inmates
California Highway Patrol officials have determined Ventura County Sheriff's Sgt. Ron Helus died after he was struck by a bullet from a CHP officer's weapon during the Borderline Bar shooting in Thousand Oaks Nov. 7.
CHP: Ventura Sheriff Sgt. Killed by Friendly Fire in Borderline Shooting
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has joined a bipartisan working group of 40 state attorneys general seeking to end illegal robocalls, he announced Friday.
State AG’s Push Feds to Stop Robocalls
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority has put out a call for volunteers to help count homeless individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley on Wednesday night, Jan. 23.
Jan. 23: Volunteers Sought for SCV Homeless Count
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its next meetings at City Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Dec. 11: Re-elected City Council Members, New Mayor to be Sworn In
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the addition of four new board members joining the 2019 Board of Directors
SCV Chamber of Commerce Adds 4 to Board
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff' Station deputies arrested a North Carolina man on felony and misdemeanor drug charges in Castaic Thursday morning.
North Carolina Man Arrested on Drug Charges in Castaic
As holiday shoppers crowd store and mall parking lots, the California Department of Motor Vehicles reminds Californians to “Save the Space” designated for disabled individuals who legally display disabled person parking placards.
DMV: ‘Save the Space’ for Holiday Shoppers with Disabilties
1921 - William S. Hart marries actress Winifred Westover [story]
Despite affordability challenges, California renters continue to hold homeownership in high regard and aspire to purchase a home eventually, according to a consumer survey recently released by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R).
Survey Finds CA Renters Still Have High Regard for Homeownership
Santa Clarita-based landscaping firm Stay Green, Inc. has been recognized in a statewide competition, bringing home three first-place awards and an Outstanding Achievement award for maintenance projects big and small.
Local Landscape Firm Recognized in Statewide Competition
SAN DIEGO - A group of investors working with Johnson Fistel, LLP, The Concerned Shareholders of Big 5 Group (the "CSB5 Group") believes these are desperate times for Big 5 Sporting Goods Corporation.
Investors Make Play for Big 5 Sporting Goods Chain
Sarah Delawder, currently an assistant principal at Valencia High School, will become the assistant principal at Castaic High School.
Hart District Names Assistant Principal for Castaic High School
Because of the recent rainfall, Los Angeles County Health Officer, Muntu Davis, MD, MPH, is cautioning residents who are planning to visit Los Angeles County beaches to avoid swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters around discharging storm drains, creeks, and rivers.
Advisory Issued for all LA County Beaches Until Sunday
NORTHRIDGE - Sophomore Terrell Gomez posted a career-high 26 points to go with five 3-pointers while senior Blair Orr registered a career-best 15 points and six rebounds as CSUN Men's Basketball (3-5) defeated Cal State San Marcos, 76-72, on Wednesday evening at The Matadome.
Sophomore Gomez Propels Matadors to Victory
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN returns home for a pair of women's basketball games this week. The Matadors get the action underway Friday night when CSUN welcomes Loyola Marymount.
Matadors Return Home to Host LMU, SDSU
To help lower the risk of possible natural gas and electricity shortages this winter, Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) recently announced the launch of a new energy conservation alert program designed to raise awareness about ways Southern Californians can reduce their natural gas use during periods of cold weather this winter.
SoCalGas Encouraging Customers to ‘Dial it Down’ with New Alert Program
The CalArts School of Theater production, Through the Leaves," directed by Brittney Brady (BFA 20), opens on Thursday, Dec. 6, and runs through the following Thursday, Dec. 13.
Dec. 6-13: CalArts School of Theater Presents ‘Though the Leaves’
The Governing Board of the Castaic Union School District will hold an organizational meeting Thursday, Dec. 6, at 6:00 P.M. in the Board Room of the district office.
Dec. 6: CUSD Governing Board Organizational Meeting
The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), in coordination with Los Angeles County Public Works, will provide debris removal for homes destroyed by the Woolsey Fire at no cost to property owners and residents.
County Public Works to Provide Free Woolsey Fire Debris Removal
Princess Cruises recently announced that it is now preparing Regal Princess as the second ship fully activated with Princess MedallionClass experiences that are currently delivering enhanced and personalized cruise vacations to guests onboard Caribbean Princess.
OceanMedallion Interactive Device Expands to Regal Princess
Officials at California State University, Northridge, released a statement Wednesday regarding graffiti that was found in one of the buildings on campus - graffiti that included a threat of a mass shooting and hate symbols.
CSUN Responds to Mass Shooting Threat, Hate Symbols Found on Campus
The U.S. Forest Service will soon start annual prescribed burning operations on the Angeles National Forest to reduce the risk of wildfire and protect the communities within and adjacent to the forest.
Forest Service to Begin Prescribed Burning Operations
1864 - Actor William S. Hart born in Newburgh, New York [Hart Index]
The city of Santa Clarita is set to honor the memory of Fereydoon Ghaffari, designer of Valencia's first pedestrian walkways, at the Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission's meeting in Council Chambers at City Hall on Thursday, Dec. 6.
Dec. 6: City to Honor Man Who Pioneered Valencia Walkways