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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly sunny
Partly sunny
51°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 19
1803 - Indian family members removed from Caamulus (Camulos) village, Piru area, are baptized at San Fernando Mission [record]


| 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
Loading...
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Feb 19, 2018
Cold Weather Alert Chills SCV Through Wednesday
Los Angeles County's Interim Health Officer has issued a Cold Weather Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley through Wednesday night due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for wind chill temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Friday, Feb 16, 2018
SCV Deputies’ Latest Probation Check Nets No Arrests
Crime Prevention deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, assisted by Crime Impact Team deputies, conducted checks on probationers at six different locations on Thursday but made no arrests.
Friday, Feb 16, 2018
West Ranch Alum Taylor Lingscheit Graduates USAF Basic Training
U.S. Air Force Airman Taylor M. Lingscheit has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
NextSCV, newly rebranded from SCV Emerging Leaders, will host a behind-the-scenes tour of the Princess Cruises world headquarters in Valencia, followed by a mixer at The Dudes’ Brewery, on Wednesday, February 28.
Feb. 28: NextSCV Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Princess Cruises HQ
The Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation has added three new members to the board of directors -- Don Kimball, community president at FivePoint; Tracy Lawrence, MD, director of Emergency Services, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital; and Robert Stern, CPA, Stern, Kory, Morgan & Sreden.
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation Adds 3 to Board
Hollywood Boulevard will be closed for the Oscars between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive from 10 p.m. on Sunday, February 25 to 6 a.m. on Wednesday, March 7.
Hollywood Blvd. Closed for Oscars Feb. 25 to March 7
Westmont scored a 54-41 home win over The Master's University women's basketball team Saturday night, as the Mustangs scored the fewest points in a game this season, shooting just 31 percent from the floor.
The Master’s Can’t Find Groove in Santa Barbara
The TMU Mustangs rallied from a deficit late Saturday afternoon to beat Hope International 4-3 in the nightcap, completing a series and a doubleheader sweep of the No. 8 Royals.
Mustangs’ 4-3 Comeback Sweeps Royals in Closer
Josh Robison slugged a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning and No. 14 The Master's University rallied from a three-run deficit to beat No. 8 Hope International 7-6 in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
Robison Rallies Mustangs Past Royals in Opener
Farmers Insurance agent Jon Albert will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening of his new Santa Clarita office on Tuesday, February 20 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Feb. 20: New Farmers Insurance Agent Hosts Grand Opening
The Mustangs opened the second half of their 101-82 win at Westmont College on Saturday with a flurry of steals and blocks and buckets, which helped TMU claim at least a share of the first GSAC title in program history.
Mustangs Claim Share of 1st GSAC Title in Program History
CSUN's fifth annual Maurice Amado Foundation Lecture in Jewish Ethics will feature respected scholar Aaron J. Hahn Tapper, who will examine issues surrounding reconciliation and forgiveness in his talk at Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue in Encino on Wednesday, March 14 starting at 7:30 p.m.
March 14: CSUN Amado Lecture to Explore Forgiving the Unforgivable
A federal grand jury on Friday indicted a 32-year-old Texas man accused of carrying out a five-day, 2 million-email attack on the Los Angeles County Superior Courts computer system in July 2017.
Feds Indict Texas Man in LA County Court Email Hack
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host live Oscars viewing parties in New York and London for its members and invited film industry guests on Oscar Sunday, March 4.
March 4: Academy to Celebrate Oscar Night in New York, London
College of the Canyons' baseball team beat Chaffey College 12-9 in a wild game on Saturday when the home team scored eight runs in the 7th to gain the win and improve to 7-4.
College of the Canyons Outruns Chaffey College 12-9
The next Canyon Country Advisory Committee meeting at the Mint Canyon Moose Lodge includes a meet-and-greet with 25th District Congressional candidate Michael Masterman-Smith on Wednesday, February 21, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb. 21: Canyon Country Advisory Committee Meeting
"NCIS" producer-writer Scott Williams has been added to the lineup of speakers at the 2018 Economic Outlook Conference hosted by the SCV Economic Development Corporation and COC at TPC Valencia on March 8 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
March 8: ‘NCIS’ Producer Joins 2018 SCV Economic Outlook Panel
The William S. Hart Union High School District's Career & College Readiness Department is celebrating Career Education Month in February by providing students a variety of pathways to success.
Hart District Celebrates Career Education Month
Arroyo Seco Junior High School and Saugus High School have partnered to introduce Career Pathways to students, with automotive technology the focus of the next panel on Friday, February 23.
Arroyo Seco, Saugus High Team for Career Pathways Panels
Los Angeles County's Interim Health Officer has issued a Cold Weather Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley through Wednesday night due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for wind chill temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cold Weather Alert Chills SCV Through Wednesday
1803 - Indian family members removed from Caamulus (Camulos) village, Piru area, are baptized at San Fernando Mission [record]
1955 - Actor and nightclub owner Ace Cain incorporates the Rocky Springs Country Club in Sand Canyon [story]
1949 - Short-lived oil drilling operation on Newhall's Arcadia Street ends [story]
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, February 20, starting at 1 p.m.
Feb. 20: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Little, Brown Books recently published CalArts alum Vashti Harrison's (Film/Video MFA 14) debut illustrated book, "Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History."
Vashti Harrison Talks ‘Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History’
UCLA's Hammer Museum has announced the 32 artists including six CalArts alumni who will participate in "Made in L.A. 2018," the fourth edition of the museum's biennial exhibition, which runs June 3 to Sept. 2 at the Westwood museum.
6 CalArtians Among Artists Selected for ‘Made in L.A. 2018’
The Isaura String Quartet will present an evening of music by CalArtians at Human Resources LA in Downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, February 18 starting at 8 p.m.
Feb. 18: Isaura String Quartet to Perform at Human Resources LA
Two films directed by alumni of California Institute of the Arts' legendary Character Animation program, "Coco" and "The Boss Baby," are nominated for "Best Animated Feature" Academy Awards.
Oscar Buzz: Will 2018 Bring Oscar No. 11 to a CalArts Animator?
Crime Prevention deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, assisted by Crime Impact Team deputies, conducted checks on probationers at six different locations on Thursday but made no arrests.
SCV Deputies’ Latest Probation Check Nets No Arrests
Artist Bob Hernandez will give a charcoal/pastel inspirational talk at the Monday, Feb. 19 meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association at Barnes & Noble in Valencia starting at 6:30 p.m.
Feb. 19: Bob Hernandez Charcoal, Pastel Demo at Barnes and Noble
U.S. Air Force Airman Taylor M. Lingscheit has graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.
West Ranch Alum Taylor Lingscheit Graduates USAF Basic Training
The city of Santa Clarita, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, the Hart District and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps celebrated the growth and continued success of the school district’s recycling program with a media event at Valencia High School Thursday.
Santa Clarita, LA County Celebrate School Recycling Push
The Master's University women's basketball team hopes it finds its offensive mojo by Saturday evening when it takes on No. 4 Westmont College in Santa Barbara.
Master’s Seeks Offensive Mojo Ahead of Westmont Showdown
The Master's College Mustangs men's basketball team (25-1) can lock in at least a share of the program's first-ever GSAC regular-season title with a win at No. 8 Westmont College on Saturday.
Mustangs Could Clinch GSAC Title Saturday in Santa Barbara
College of the Canyons' baseball team tasted both victory and defeat on Wednesday, dropping a 6-5 extra innings decision to Cerritos College in a make-up game and following with a 4-3 win in the regularly scheduled contest.
Cougars Hold On for 4-3 Win Over Cerritos College
With a hard-fought 81-77 victory over visiting Bakersfield College on Wednesday night in the Cougar Cage, College of the Canyons' men's basketball team moved into the conference top spot one win away from winning a conference championship.
Cougars Claw Bakersfield 81-77, Move Into Conference Top Spot
College of the Canyons women's basketball team won its eighth straight game Wednesday night in the Cougar Cage, knocking off conference rival Bakersfield College 88-60 and clinching at least a share of WSC South Division championship.
COC Women’s Hoops Team Wins 8th Straight, Share of WSC Title
The Los Angeles County Community Development Commission has earmarked $1.5 million in Affordable Housing Trust Funds for construction and financing of Six Four Nine Lofts, a supportive housing development for homeless military veterans and special-needs households on L.A.'s Skid Row.
LA County, City Team to House Homeless Veterans, Special Needs Households
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station, the city of Santa Clarita and Valencia High School officials will partner to bring the “Every 15 Minutes” program to the school on Tuesday, February 20.
Feb. 20: ‘Every 15 Minutes’ Clocks in at Valencia High School