The California red-legged frog gets 1.6 million acres of California real estate


Author:  Damien M. Schiff

Today the United States Fish and Wildlife Service published its final revised critical habitat designation for the California red-legged frog, a species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The revised designation, amending the 2006 designation, covers over 1.6 million acres of habitat in California, and is perhaps the largest such designation in the lower 48.

The frog is a good example of just how litigious endangered species regulation can be:  1996, the frog is listed; 1999, the Service is sued by environmentalists for failing to designate critical habitat; 2001, the Service promulgates critical habitat, but shortly thereafter is sued by developers contending that the designation's economic analysis is defective; 2002, the Service agrees to a consent decree to redo the designation; 2004, the Service reproposes critical habitat; 2006, the Service finalizes a revised designation; 2007, the Service announces that it's going to look at the designation again for alleged improprieties in its promulgation attributed to a former Assistant Secretary of the Interior; later that year, the Service is sued by environmentalists who want a faster redo; 2008, the Service agrees to another consent decree to redo the designation; and now today, a new designation, smaller than earlier designations, but still vast in comparison to most other critical habitats.

Is there not a better way?