Project to help rare frog now under way |

Project to help rare frog now under way

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 habitat that had been friendly to frogs, according to a press statement from the Forest Service.

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, according to the statement.

Biologists say that before the 1950s, lakes in the wilderness area had no fish and supported viable frog populations.

Predation by introduced nonnative fish helped eliminate the frogs from more than 90 percent of their native habitat.

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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.