Dublin fights fed over frog habitat

The Associated Press
Monday October 09, 2000

DUBLIN — City officials are upset with federal agency’s proposal to designate the entire city as part of critical habitat for the California red-legged frog. 

The Dublin city council approved a letter which was sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week detailing its dismay that it was part of 5.4 million acres to be included in the proposed designation. 

That acreage would include a third of Alameda and Contra Costa counties as well as the entire city of Dublin. 

City officials say such a federal definition could delay development projects in the area. 

“This is an extremely broad definition of critical habitat,” said community development director Eddie Peabody. “It covers ... developed areas as well as not developed.” 

Critical habitats are defined by the Endangered Species Act as geographic areas essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species. 

The language of the proposal encompasses shopping malls, roads and other man-made features within the boundaries for critical habitat. They were only included because of difficulties mapping such minute features. 

The California red-legged frog was listed as threatened in 1996, under the Federal Endangered Species Act. 

The proposal is aimed at reducing threats to the frog population, restoring habitats and surveying and monitoring the frog’s population 

Such a habitat designation would mean that if government funds are involved in a development project, those agencies would have to consult with federal wildlife officials before ground could be broken.