In response to petition, FWS finds that once abundant northern leopard frog population may require listing
74 Fed. Reg. 31389 /Vol. 74, No. 125 / Wednesday, July 1, 2009
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service / 50 CFR Part 17 / Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Northern Leopard Frog (Lithobates pipiens) in the Western United States as Threatened
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the western U.S. population of the northern leopard frog (Lithobates pipiens) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Following a review of the petition, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the western U.S. population of northern leopard frog may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we are initiating a status review of the species, and we will issue a 12- month finding to determine if listing the species throughout all or a significant portion of its range is warranted. To ensure that the status review of the northern leopard frog is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial information and other information regarding this species.
EXCERPT: In a 90-day finding, the question is whether a petition presents substantial information that the petitioned action may be warranted. Based on our review, we find that the petition, supported by information in our files, presents substantial scientific or commercial information to indicate that the western U.S. population of the northern leopard frog may be a DPS based on genetic evidence.... We find that the petitioners have presented substantial information indicating that the northern leopard frogs in the western United States may be genetically discrete from northern leopard frogs in the eastern United States and that the western U.S. population may also be significant to the species as a whole as the loss of this potentially discrete population segment may result in a significant gap in the range of the species. We also find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information that listing the DPS of the northern leopard frog in the western United States as threatened or endangered may be warranted as the result of current and future threats under Factor A due to habitat destruction and modification, Factor C due to disease and predation, Factor D because it is not currently protected by existing regulatory mechanisms, and Factor E due to malformations, pesticides, and ultraviolet radiation. Therefore, we are initiating a status review to determine if listing the species under the Act is warranted. We will issue a 12-month finding as to whether the petitioned action is warranted, not warranted, or warranted but precluded.
The northern leopard frog -- once the most abundant and widespread frog species in North America, widely collected for dissection --has suffered massive declines since the early 1970s. Photo of the Northern leopard frog from USGS.
- 1999 Washington State Status Report of the Northern leopard frog