WASHINGTON (CN) – The Amargosa toad will not be protected under the Endangered Species Act, because non-federal conservancy measures are sufficient to protect the amphibian from extinction for the foreseeable future, according to a finding released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The agency determined that listing the toad as threatened or endangered was not warranted at this time, based on information in the listing petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
The toad, which is endemic to the Amargosa River drainage in southwestern Nevada, had been a candidate for listing since 1977, but through changing administrations and listing priorities, and legal challenges, the agency has not previously made a determination about the species.
Major threats to the species are non-native bullfrogs and crayfish eating them, water diversion and use, and habitat degradation and loss, according to the listing petition.
“[S]ome very serious new threats have cropped up [since the petition was filed], such as groundwater development for solar facilities and the increasing impacts of a hotter, drier climate; these weren’t given adequate consideration,” according to a Center for Biological Diversity press release, quoting Rob Mrowka, a Nevada-based ecologist and conservation advocate with the center. Mrowka also noted that the groundwater demanded by solar and other projects is intimately connected with the surface water upon which the toad relies.