Fish, Frogs and Miners

Fish eat frogs, miners are blamed

California Fish Stocking Program Results in Extermination of Endangered Frogs

frog

We're not anti-environmental. Quite the opposite. We are however, anti-environmentalist.

Many, if not most, of these groups are corrupt. They've been corrupted by money. Once a person realizes the great cause can become a great income the initial reason for the cause takes a back seat to the actual objectives. There may be some legitimate environmental groups out there, but the only litmus test would be to look at their source of income. We doubt many would pass our simple litmus test. The legitimate groups would remain apolitical and would spend more time planting trees and picking up garbage than they would lobbying for more funds which are turned into grants to "study the problem." These groups are staffed by unpaid volunteers and their directors aren't hosting fancy dinners where only the well-heeled are invited.

This would tend to leave very few legitimate environmental groups indeed.

We all want a clean environment. An environment we can hand down to our childred where the water is clear, the air is clean and we can enjoy the natural beauty that is our land.

Mining is crucial to the economy. If you want to mine you have to move dirt. When moving dirt becomes such an environmental threat, it's time to look closely at what the threat really is. The threat is money and grants.

Recenly the US Fish and Wildlife Service set aside 2 million more acres of critical habitat to protect a frog whose demise was actually caused by the government. Without a squeak from the environmentalists. The California fish stocking program which introduced non-native trout into every drop of water in the state so members of Trout Unlimited could have a religous experience on the rivers. Where were the lawsuits? None.

Unsaid in all the reports of the frog's demise is the uncomfortable fact that the reason any frogs survived the onslaught of fish stocking at all is because of mining. Don't believe it? Look at a map of where the few surviving frogs have been found. They've been breeding in the wetlands created by the long dormant hydraulic mines. The hydraulic mines created thousands of acres of wetlands which were too shallow to support fish, but provided ideal breeding grounds for the Mountain Yellow Legged Frog. You'll never hear the environmentalists say that, it doesn't fit their agenda. In order to prove this we'd unfortunatley have to hire a professional frog researcher who charges $250 an hour to go out and conduct research for a couple of years on this theory. As only the government has this kind of money to waste on frog researchers we can only present our personal observations. But, where were the environmentalists while the non-native trout were eating the frogs? Who would have guessed introducing trout into previously fish-less waters would cause the trout to eat things like tadpoles? Gosh, that must have been stunning to find out.

We miners just lost another 2 million acres of land to protect a frog which used to be thick as flies along the rivers. That is until rainbow trout were introduced. In Alpine County alone 42% of the land area of the county was just reserved for frog protection. Tuolumne County isn't far behind with 35% of land area reserved. So why are miners blamed?

Critical Habitat By County

California County
County Size (acres)
Critical Habitat (acres)
% Critical Habitat (ch/total)
Alpine
472,960
201,002
42%
El Dorado
1,095,680
83,191
8%
Fresno
3,816,320
667,395
17%
Madera
1,368,320
52,846
4%
Mariposa
928,640
17,438
2%
Mono
1,948,160
101,794
5%
Nevada
613,120
138,283
23%
Placer
961,920
9,286
1%
Plumas
1,634,560
75,575
5%
Sierra
609,920
15,703
3%
Tulare
3,112,320
213,190
7%
Tuolumne
1,432,040
502,121
35%

The above chart shows the amount of critical habitat by county compared to the total acreage in each county. The percent of critical habitat column represents the total amount of land in the county which is restricted from suction dredging. All frog habitat is in or near streams or rivers.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service justifies the vast capture of land by stating there will be no effects on most recreational activities and no effects on any project which doesn't require a federal permit. However, suction dredging requires a federal permit in the way of a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit. This automatically triggers a full review of the effects of dredging on the frogs, or any other endangered species. This review is in the form of a biological opinion. Recently the government issued a biological opinion on dredging in the Rogue River region of southern Oregon and imposed severe restrictions on the use of suction dredges.

The designation of critical habitat has a major impact on mining and natural resource activies even though these activities had nothing to do with the frogs population collapse which is directly attributable to the very agency which was supposed to be protecting the species. The demand for trout fishing, which is clearly recreational, killed the frogs. Yet the trout fishermen are not impacted by this designation in the least.

It's ironic the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who has the responsibility for conserving wildlife, chose to stock trout at the expense of the frog, then they turn around in the 2012 regulations and ban mining from every stream where this frog may be found, despite no linkage between dredging and harm to frogs.

This is the consequence of the designation of critical habitat.