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Morgan Hill
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September 23, 2021

Cattlemen applaud wildlife service ruling on California tiger salamander

EDITOR: The California Cattlemen
’s Association (CCA) applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
for its recognition that normal ranching activities can maintain or
improve habitat for the California tiger salamander. However, CCA
cautions the agency to use the best science available in
determining whether listing of the species
is necessary.
EDITOR:

The California Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) applauds the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its recognition that normal ranching activities can maintain or improve habitat for the California tiger salamander. However, CCA cautions the agency to use the best science available in determining whether listing of the species is necessary.

On May 15, 2003, the USFWS issued a proposed rule to list the California tiger salamander as a threatened species throughout California, under the federal Endangered Species Act. USFWS will determine whether listing the California tiger salamander as threatened is warranted by May 2004. As the USFWS has determined that ranching has a positive or neutral effect on California tiger salamander populations, the agency included in its proposal an exemption under Section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act, for existing, routine ranching activities.

Currently 49 percent, or 548,972 acres, of California tiger salamander habitat is located within rangeland. Clearly, the USFWS has determined that the best way to protect the California tiger salamander is to also protect the viability of ranching. The reason this species continues to exist in California is because of the large tracts of open space and stockponds provided by cattle ranches, and cared for by cattlemen.

CCA looks forward to working closely with the USFWS to further define ‘normal ranching activities,’ and will ensure that only scientifically valid data is used in the California tiger salamander listing decision.

It is imperative that any listing decision be based on science proving that the continued survival of this species is in real jeopardy throughout the state. CCA also encourages landowners to continue ongoing livestock-related activities benefiting conservation of the California tiger salamander.

California tiger salamanders rely on vernal pools and ponds to breed during the fall and winter rainy season. Adult male salamanders will remain in the breeding ponds for six to eight weeks while females stay for about one to two weeks before returning to burrows used during their period of dormancy (estivation) for the duration of hot, dry weather. Salamander larvae remain in the pond until they reach maturity in approximately 60 to 90 days. In late spring or early summer, the salamanders leave the ponds to seek out burrows created by small animals to begin estivation.

Darrel Sweet, president,

Sacramento

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