Continued from the Sierra Links San Francisco Chronicle story:
U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti gave the Fish and Wildlife Service until Nov. 30, 2002, to decide whether to list the Yosemite toad as an endangered species, and until Jan. 10, 2003, to make the same decision for the Sierra Nevada mountain-legged frog.
The Yosemite toad, found at high locations in the central Sierra, has disappeared from half of its historic range.
The mountain yellow-legged frog has vanished from 70 to 90 percent of its historic range across the Sierra Nevada.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Pacific Rivers Council asked the government to list both species as endangered in March 2000. Conti said federal officials did not to reply by the one-year deadline set by law, and he noted that the government did not deny that the amphibians were declining.
But the judge said the Fish and Wildlife Service is still suffering the effects of a 13-month congressional ban on endangered species listings, imposed in 1995, and subsequent fund shortages that have left it with a heavy backlog.
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