(Guest posting by Chris Montague-Breakwell)
The endangered California red-legged frog’s proposed critical habitat has been slashed by more than 80 percent. A lawsuit by a group of developers brought a court order reducing the frog’s designated critical habitat. Under the new proposal, large areas along the Half Moon Bay and Montara coastlines will lose Federal protection, though they still will remain protected under the Coastal Act. The California Coastal Commission promises to keep the same protection on the coastside as when it was designated a critical habitat, however, areas not protected by the Coastal Act will have no such guarantees. Further, the Commission expressed reservations about developers’ influence over the critical habitat decision.
The general counsel of the Home Builders Association of Northern California, a party in the suit, claims the critical habitat provision in the Endangered Species Act is being misused by environmentalist to stop development and hinder economic growth. Counter to his claims, the Fish and Wildlife services released a study that predicted only 0.9 percent of housing units projected to be built in the next 20 years would be prevented by the critical habitat designated for the red-legged frog.
Coverage has been sparse, though this type of issue must be not be forgotten or ignored. The Half Moon Bay Review has a good summary here.
The Endangered Species Act itself faces a threat to its future, summarized here.