PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION OF THE ENDANGERED SIERRA NEVADA YELLOW-LEGGED FROG (RANA SIERRAE) AT A POPULAR PACIFIC CREST TRAIL STREAM CROSSING
|Carrie J Johnson; US Forest Service; email@example.com;|
In August 2018, Tahoe National Forest biologists discovered a population of the federally endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog (SNYLF) inhabiting Round Valley, California. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) crosses Lower Castle Creek in Round Valley and is heavily used by PCT hikers, as well as dogs and equestrians. Larval SNYLF tadpoles and metamorphized juveniles were found in the exact pooled area where the PCT crossed during multiple surveys spanning three years. As this area is also federally designated critical habitat for SNYLF, the goal was to protect this SNYLF reproductive habitat by creating a trail re-alignment to direct trail users along a dryer, upland trail out of the riparian zone. Trail re-alignment work began in September 2020. The project required creating 528 feet of new trail and adding a bridge crossing. Preliminary post-project monitoring indicates that trail users are primarily utilizing the new alignment and staying out of the meadow. Future monitoring will continue to assess usage on the newly re-aligned trail and in the meadow area. A primary accomplishment of this project emphasizes the collaborative effort required to complete the project and the benefits of working with partners to make ideas become reality.