The efforts to restore populations of the mountain yellow-legged frogs in the San Jacinto Mountains are evincing significant progress despite the presence of the drought.
Several steps are producing positive results, according to Adam R. Backlin, ecologist, U.S. Geological Survey at the Western Ecological Research Center.
This year, researchers released two separate sets of tadpoles and juvenile frogs reared at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. In May, 700 tadpoles were released. In August, Backlin and the team released another 200 tadpoles and 27 juvenile frogs. Both releases were in the upper North Fork of the San Jacinto River.
“We have conducted monitoring surveys at these release sites following this year’s releases and found the frogs to be doing well,” Backlin reported.
From surveys and monitoring of previous releases, the team has observed similar success at the University of California, James Reserve behind Lake Fulmor.
“[We have] found the frogs there are doing great and we have a large population of adult frogs there that we are hoping will begin breeding naturally next spring,” he shared.
Several native MYLF populations continue to survive on the Hill. “… the naturally occurring MYLF are showing these populations to be hanging on despite the several years of drought that has lowered water levels in the creeks,” Backlin added.
Certainly, the frog’s future is more optimistic than 10 years ago. Backlin concluded, “This has been a good year for the mountain yellow-legged frogs … The outlook for these frogs in the San Jacinto Mountains looks promising and we hope to continue to improve their status into the future.”