Project to help rare frog underway in Desolation Wilderness near Lake Tahoe
October 8, 2008
The U.S. Forest Service has launched a project to eradicate nonnative trout from seven lakes near Lake Tahoe to help save the rare mountain yellow-legged frog.
Employees have begun setting gillnets at Ralston, Cagwin and Tamarack lakes
in the Desolation Wilderness in an effort to remove trout and restore once-friendly frog habitat.
Over the next decade, plans call for the removal of brook and rainbow trout from Margery, Lucille, LeConte and Jabu lakes in the wilderness area just west of Tahoe.
The lakes were selected due to their proximity to current populations of the frog, a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
Biologists say that prior to the 1950s, lakes in the wilderness area had no fish and supported viable frog populations.
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Predation by introduced nonnative fish helped eliminate the frogs from more than 90 percent of their native habitat.
Biologists estimate it will take three to five years to remove all the fish from each lake, with the entire effort taking about 10 years.