Rare yellow-legged frogs are returned to drought-hammered San Gabriel Mountains
This aerial view of the San Gabriel Mountains near La Cañada Flintridge shows the area was impacted by the January 2017 California drought. (Los Angeles County Department of Public Works)
Updated Jan. 13, 2018 at 3:51 p.m.: This story has been updated to clarify that the frogs were returned to the area as part of a study, not through a natural drawdown of the region’s water supply.
About two dozen yellow-legged frogs have been returned to the drought-hammered San Gabriel Mountains, but authorities say they fear the new population is not as hardy or large as the original population.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Los Angeles County Water District, the frogs were spotted in a natural drawdown of the region’s water supply last month. A drawdown of water is when water is removed from a natural flow of precipitation that creates a reservoir of water throughout the year.
“The yellow-legged frogs have become almost extinct in the San Gabriel Mountains. Not only are they gone, but the new population looks not nearly as hardy,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Steve Whitmore, in a statement announcing the find.
The San Gabriel Mountains are a part of the San Gabriel River watershed. The region is home to the endangered American alligator, but the frogs were not found when surveyors were looking for such animals last September, according to Whitmore.
“While there is little information available about these frogs, they are not native to the San Gabriel Mountains,” he said. “We are hopeful that once the frogs return, the new population will be as hardy or larger as the original population.”
The federal agency will continue to monitor “this highly sensitive population in order to evaluate the progress made toward the recovery of yellow-legged frogs in the environment.”
This aerial view of the San Gabriel Mountains shows the area was impacted by the January 2017 California drought. (Los Angeles County Department of Public Works)
A yellow-legged frog, or Podogromis mexicanus, is seen along with its eggs in the San Gabriel Mountains in this photo taken in March of 2017. (Eric S. Lesser/Los Angeles County Department of Public Works)
In March 2018, three more frogs were returned to the area,