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Officials oppose Oregon spotted frog habitat; all three commissioners voted to send an opposition letter to USFW

Herald and News by Samantha Tipler 12/7/14

Klamath County commissioners are voicing their opposition to designating more than 56,000 acres in Oregon as critical habitat for the Oregon spotted frog, which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list as a threatened species.

On Tuesday all three commissioners voted for sending a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to that effect. Commissioner Tom Mallams said designating the critical habitat would be another layer of regulation hindering Klamath County.

Regulations to consider

“We are all under a lot of regulations that are getting too cumbersome and so onerous that it’s getting really hard to make a living with our natural resources,” Mallams said during the commissioners’ weekly meeting Tuesday. “Somewhere you have got to say enough is enough. You have to say no.”

The other commissioners agreed.

“Whether it’s the spotted owl, or the spotted frog, or the spotted fugitive dust particulate matter coming off our tractors, these things just get ridiculous after a while,” said commission chairman Dennis Linthicum. “The best stewards of the land are those men and women who live on the land, not these individuals who are coming out of Washington, D.C., and laying their wishes on the public at large.”

The commissioners’ letter notes of the 53,866 acres in Oregon considered for critical habitat, 27,825 are in Klamath County and 8,823 acres in Klamath County are on private land.

Mallams said much of the land is already designated as wetlands, so it is already regulated by the Clean Water Act.

“And that regulation fits right in line with, really, what the spotted frog habitat needs to have, or is supposed to have,” he said. “Why the double-scrutiny? That’s the question. No one has been able to give an answer to that.”

Original proposal

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the spotted frog in August. A final determination may be made by September 2014, according to a Mail Tribune article about the issue. Lower water levels, overgrazing, predators and invasive plants encroaching on habitat have led to the frog’s decline, the article said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service first determined the spotted frog warranted listing in 1993, according to the service’s website about the frog, at http://1.usa.gov/1cfNCyK.

Critical habitat is proposed in Klamath, Jackson, Deschutes, Lane and Wasco counties, the website says. However, it lists Multnomah, Clackamas, Marion, Linn and Benton counties as “historic” spotted frog habitat.




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