Feds to set critical habitat for frogPublished 11:35pm Monday, June 11, 2012
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is designating nearly 6,500 acres in Mississippi and Louisiana as critical habitat for the endangered Mississippi gopher frog — the only endangered or threatened frog in the Southeast.
An estimated 100 to 200 live in the wild in Mississippi, and 892 in zoos, said the Memphis Zoo’s Steve Reichling, who keeps the gopher frog stud book, a species registry to ensure good breeding match-ups.
Most of the land described in a notice to be published in Tuesday’s Federal Register is in Mississippi, but it also includes the frog’s last known Louisiana breeding ground, in St. Tammany Parish, where five of the temporary ponds it needs remain in hopping distance of each other.
Edward Poitevent, whose family owns most of the Louisiana land, has been fighting the designation. He says he cannot comment until he reads the full notice.
Critical habitat designation requires Fish and Wildlife Service consultation for federal permits.