Adam Backlin and Liz Gallegos, U.S. Geological Survey biologists, plant Mountain Yellow-legged Frog eggs in a secure screened box located in plunge pools along the creek in April 2010. Photo by J.P. Crumrine
Efforts to re-establish the native population of Mountain Yellow-legged Frogs will resume in 2013.

The initial project will be relocating several hundred frogs — sub-adults — in the James Reserve later this spring, according to Adam R. Backlin, ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center in Irvine.

“The last couple of years the captive breeding colony has produced fewer eggs,” Backlin explained. Consequently, the project team did not release any tadpoles in 2012. “But this year it will be exciting to attempt to release frogs. This will have a lot better chance of success.”

With fewer tadpoles available last year, the research team raised them at the zoo. Now the tadpoles are adults and the team will be releasing them in a few weeks, Backlin said.

Results of earlier tadpole releases are still uncertain, according to Jennifer Gee, director the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve. “Last summer, we saw tadpoles here in Indian Creek. I am not sure if those tadpoles survived to mature into frogs, and it has been too cold to survey this year,” she said.

Besides the frog release this spring, Backlin is hoping the captive breeding colony will produce a large tadpole cohort this year. If so, he believes another release of 400 to 500 tadpoles could occur in late summer.