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For Immediate Release: Feb 26, 2008
Contact: Kirsten Stade (202) 265-7337

LEGAL PETITION TO SAVE NEVADA’S AMARGOSA TOAD

Off-Road Traffic and Habitat Destruction May Doom Toad without Intervention


Contact: Daniel Patterson (520) 906-2159

Las Vegas —Today the Center for Biological Diversity and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a scientific petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Amargosa toad under the federal Endangered Species Act due to threats from growing development, water extractions, and increased off-road vehicle use throughout its limited range in the Oasis Valley.

The Amargosa toad is presently restricted to a 10-mile (16-kilometer) stretch of the Amargosa River and interconnected spring systems in the Oasis Valley in Nevada and adjacent desert uplands. The principal threat to the species and the cause of its present reduced state is habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation due to urban, residential, and recreational development including unrestricted off-road vehicle use.

“Endangered Species Act protection for the Amargosa toad is long overdue and will lead to better stewardship for the common good,” said Daniel Patterson, an ecologist and Southwest Director of PEER who previously worked with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the Mojave Desert. “Irresponsible off-roading, riparian area destruction, and questionable BLM proposals to privatize critical toad habitat for development on the Amargosa River near Beatty, Nevada are top threats to the toad and the fragile web of life it represents.”

“The Amargosa toad is facing increasing habitat loss in the Oasis Valley along the Amargosa River and in nearby springs,” said Rob Mrowka, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The voluntary conservation efforts over the past eight years, while commendable, have been woefully insufficient and have failed to protect the species and its habitat, so the legal protections of the Endangered Species Act are sorely needed. As all Nevadans are aware, water resources are scarce, and many of our native rivers, streams, and springs are being threatened by increased water use and lack of meaningful protective measures to prevent damaging off-road vehicle use in these fragile riparian environments. Protecting these resources is critical for the survival of native wildlife and ecosystems for future generations.”

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Read the petition

Look at the PEER campaign to curb irresponsible off-roading