Environment & Science

Big leap forward for recovery of endangered frog

Mountain yellow-legged frogs actually have creamy beige legs, and a back that mimics granite, to help them be more cryptic to predators.
Mountain yellow-legged frogs actually have creamy beige legs, and a back that mimics granite, to help them be more cryptic to predators.
Molly Peterson/KPCC

The recovery of Southern California's mountain yellow-legged frog took a big leap forward after federal officials agreed to develop a recovery plan for the endangered amphibian.

The nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity announced Wednesday that it has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Under the deal, the agency will lay out a proposal to protect habitat and keep the 2- to 3-inch-long, mottled yellow frogs from vanishing.

The amphibians, whose scientific name is Rana muscosa, once thrived in the high mountain streams of the Sierra Nevada and Southern California.

However, the tadpoles became meals for non-native trout that were used to stock the lakes. Studies also showed that livestock grazing and pesticide drift contributed to their decline.