5/26/2011: WELC won protections for the California red-legged frog and other imperiled species threatened by off-road vehicles destroying sensitive meadow habitats on California's Eldorado National Forest.

Victory! Eldorado National Forest ORV Challenge (CA)

The Eldorado National Forest's unique ecosystem includes key recovery habitat for the California red-legged frog, Yosemite toad, Sierra Nevada mountain yellow-legged frog, and many other imperiled species. 

In 2008, the Eldorado National Forest managers issued a travel management plan designating motor vehicle use on the Forest that allowed off-road vehicles to continue to degrade riparian areas and wet meadows that provide essential habitat for these and other sensitive species. This plan relied upon inadequate NEPA analysis and violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by allowing motorized route crossings in protected meadows and riparian areas, home to the California Red-legged frog (Rana aurora draytoii), protected under the ESA.  

The travel plan also dramatically increased habitat fragmentation and vectors for introduction of invasive and noxious species and, if that weren’t enough, the Forest Service acknowledges it cannot afford to manage and maintain the transportation system. This plan is actually the next iteration of an earlier plan found unlawful by the courts in 2005. 

WELC's successful lawsuit will bring about a better, more environmentally conscious travel plan on northern California's Eldorado National Forest.

(WELC project #346)