On Jan. 8, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service held an informational meeting in Bridgeport about its proposal to list three amphibians as “endangered,” including the yellow-legged frog. Under this proposal, some 42 percent of Alpine County would become “critical habitat.”
Waters affected possibly include both the east and west forks of the Carson River, and many of the 60-plus lakes within Alpine County.
Maps of the proposed “critical habitat” area can be found at www.fws.gov/sacramento/outreach/2013/12-27/outreach_newsroom_2013-12-27.htm.
This wide-ranging federal proposal could devastate small businesses here in Alpine County (and surrounding counties in both California and Nevada) if trout-stocking or fishing are impacted.
Although the Fish & Wildlife Service assured us at the Bridgeport meeting that recreational activities may not be halted by this listing, other government agencies (such as the U.S. Forest Service or California Department of Fish & Wildlife) that actively manage these same lands could modify or restrict permitted activities within these areas.
It will impact trout stocking in critical habitat areas.
The F&WS has released a draft economic impact report, which fails to note the serious financial impacts these proposals could have on local businesses.
The analysis was listing the dollar amount to implement this program by th USFW Service. If the service truly believes that trout-stocking, fishing and recreational activities are not harmful, it should spell out in writing that these uses are acceptable, and may continue within this large habitat area.
It is important to submit your written comments now, before the proposed habitat designation becomes final.
The comment period remains open until March 11 for letters about the economic impacts of this proposal.
Please be as specific as you can about the potential financial impact to your business including percent and dollar amount loss, and name any water bodies that you believe should be excluded from the “critical habitat” designation, stating “on-the-ground” reasons why (for example, that a lake or river occurs at a lower elevation that is unsuitable for these amphibians; that land around the lake or river is not appropriate for habitat because the banks are rocky or there is no wet meadow adjacent; or that the water body does not have brush or willows providing shade and predator cover).
“Drive-to lakes” impact our economy more than “walk-to lakes” and allow for more appropriate critical habitat in the higher elevations.
If you would like to use a sample outline letter, please contact the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce and they can email you the sample letter. 530-694-2475.
Comments may be emailed to Robert Moler at firstname.lastname@example.org, with a hard copy sent to:
Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2012-0100 and -0074
Division of Policy and Directives Mgmt
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington VA 22203
Please read the full proposal carefully, and express your views on this important issue.
Comments to Robert Moler might have more impact.