header image

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

Inside
Weather


 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
June 12
1868 - Ravena post office (with one "n") established in Soledad Canyon [story]
Ravenna depot


| 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
Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024
June 18: Regular Meeting of SCV Water Board
SCV Water Agency will be holding their next regular board meeting next Tuesday on June 18. 
Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024
Retired Hart High School Baseball Coach Jim Ozella Releases Book
Santa Clarita resident and retired William S. Hart High School Baseball Coach Jim Ozella announced his first book was published this spring.
Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024
June 15:  Super Pet Adoption Event at William S. Hart Regional Park
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control  is pleased to announce the second Heart to Home Super Pet Adoption Event taking place at William S Hart Regional Park in Santa Clarita on June 15 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
SCV Water Agency will be holding their next regular board meeting next Tuesday on June 18. 
June 18: Regular Meeting of SCV Water Board
Fitch Ratings has raised the County's long-term issuer credit rating to AAA from AA+, garnering the highest possible credit rating available in the financial markets.
County Receives Highest Credit Rating From Two Major Ratings Agencies
SCV Water is proud to announce it has received the prestigious Distinguished Budget Presentation award for its FY 2023/24 & FY 2024/25 Biennial Budget from the Government Finance Officers Association .
SCV Water Honored by Government Finance Officers Association
Summer is right around the corner and the Santa Clarita Public Library has launched its highly anticipated Summer Reading Program through July 27.
Renew Your Love of Reading at the Santa Clarita Public Library’s Summer Reading Program
With the stigma around mental health shifting, conversations about therapy are becoming increasingly popular. However, those who seek mental health counseling know finding a therapist or an ideal therapy approach isn’t always easy. 
CSUN Prof Gives TEDx Talk on Creating a Unified Framework for Psychotherapy
Welcome to this edition of Pilar's Pocketbook. This week, has crucial information to help navigate tax filings and ensure entitled benefits are received.
Pilar Schiavo | Pilar’s Pocketbook Tax Filing Help
Santa Clarita resident and retired William S. Hart High School Baseball Coach Jim Ozella announced his first book was published this spring.
Retired Hart High School Baseball Coach Jim Ozella Releases Book
Making Lawn & Landscape Magazine’s Top 100 List based on a company’s previous year’s revenue is no small feat, yet commercial landscaping design, build and maintenance company Stay Green keeps receiving this top industry honor year after year, placing this family-run business on the map in this nationwide competition.
Stay Green Landscaping Firm Makes Lawn & Landscape Top 100
The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control  is pleased to announce the second Heart to Home Super Pet Adoption Event taking place at William S Hart Regional Park in Santa Clarita on June 15 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
June 15:  Super Pet Adoption Event at William S. Hart Regional Park
1868 - Ravena post office (with one "n") established in Soledad Canyon [story]
Ravenna depot
Three award winning local Santa Clarita Valley artists, Harriette Knight, Patty Haft and Georgette Arison invite the public to an opening reception of a visually stimulating art show called "Eye Candy" on Saturday, Aug. 3, from 5-8 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Artists Association Gallery in Old Town Newhall.
Aug. 2-11: ‘Eye Candy’ at SCAA Gallery in Old Town Newhall
Two Santa Clarita Valley schools will launch new programs, thanks to funding from California Credit Union Foundation through its Spring 2024 Teacher Grant program. As part of its commitment to help educators create innovative learning opportunities for their students, the Foundation provided 10 grants of $500 each to underwrite class projects in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
California Credit Union Foundation Awards Grants to Two SCV Teachers
In a communication sent on Tuesday, June 4 to Steve Cassulo, District Manager of Waste Connections, the operator of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, the landfill operators were notified they are in violation of the federal Clean Air Act by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA Issues Violation of Clean Air Act to Chiquita Canyon Landfill
Dive into the world of water pollution at the Old Town Newhall Library, Makerspace, 24500 Main St., Newhall, CA 91321 on Wednesday, June 12, from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
June 12: Teen Summer EnviroScape Program
The city of Santa Clarita is scheduled to begin construction on the Traffic and Pedestrian Circulation and Safety Improvements Project.
City to Begin Traffic, Pedestrian Safety Improvements Project
Join the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce for the 2024 Business Expo on Thursday, June 27, 4-8 p.m.
June 27: SCV Chamber 2024 Business Expo
The Santa Clarita Valley Fourth of July Parade Committee is seeking entries for the 92nd Annual Santa Clarita Valley Fourth of July Parade. Deadline for businesses, individuals and groups to enter the parade lineup without a late fee has been extended to Wednesday, June 19.
Fourth of July Parade Entry Extended to June 19
As part of its commitment to restoring local groundwater reliability the Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency will soon begin construction of a new treatment facility to remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and restore three wells to service that are currently offline due to PFAS detection. The proposed facility will also remove volatile organic compounds from two additional wells.
SCV Water to Construct PFAS, VOC Treatment Project in Saugus
The Los Angeles County Community Advisory Committee Meeting for the Chiquita Canyom Landfill will meet Tuesday, June 11 6-8 p.m. at the Castaic Library, 27971 Sloan Canyon Road, Castaic, CA 91384.
June 11: Chiquita Canyon Landfill Community Advisory Committee Meets
1956 - Bill Bonelli incorporates Solemint Water Co., his second of two predecessors of Santa Clarita Water Company [story]
Bonelli
For the month of June 10% of proceeds from the sale of each The LOCAL Pub & Grill Charity Ale, Charity Burger or Charity Cocktail will be given back to Blue Star Ranch, an all-volunteer Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit that serves U.S. veterans with free equine assisted therapy.
Blue Star Ranch Fundraiser at The Local Pub & Grill
College of the Canyons sophomore Flora Peugnet has committed to continue her academic and athletic career at Towson University, following a stellar two-year stay with the Cougars.
COC Standout Flora Peugnet Heading to Towson University
Mukeni "Michael" Masimango has chosen The Master's University to continue his soccer career.
Masimango Commits to TMU Men’s Soccer
As World Blood Donor Day approaches on June 14, the American Red Cross stresses that blood and platelet donors are critically needed right now to combat a drastic shortfall in donations over the last several weeks.
June 14: World Blood Donor Day
SCVNews.com