The young adult Mountain Yellow-legged frogs released in Indian Creek on the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve in June “appear to be doing great,” said Adam R. Backlin, ecologist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center.
In September, another 200 subadult MYL frogs were released in Fuller Mill Creek, according to Backlin.
“The release went well and we have high hopes that these frogs will re-establish the site,” he said.
As the efforts to re-establish native MYLF populations proceed, the consequences of July’s Mountain Fire on the natural populations in upper Tahquitz Valley and Willow Creek area are still unknown.
These two areas were burned during the fire and severely damaged in the rainstorms near the fire’s end, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s “Burned Area Emergency Report,” which was released just weeks after the fire was contained in August.
The Forest Service’s team characterized the MYLF condition in these areas as an emergency. They were most concerned about the likelihood that stream habitat would be filled with sediment, thus eliminating “suitable habitat for several years.”
“We are still assessing the situation there,” Backlin wrote in an email last month. Dr. Jennifer Gee, director of the James Reserve, also has been unable to assess the habitat within the Mountain Fire burn area. But after the Silver Fire, she said of the June releases, “The reserve and its inhabitants are fine and happy to be back in business after evacuating.”