PORTLAND, Ore. -

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday its decision to extend protection to the Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

The species will be protected throughout its range, which extends from southwestern British Columbia through the Puget/Willamette Valley, and in the Cascades Range from south-central Washington to the Klamath Basin in Oregon.  Oregon spotted frogs may be extinct in California and the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

“This unique and highly aquatic frog was once common in the Pacific Northwest and its decline signals degradation in the health of natural areas that provide for people as well as fish and wildlife,” said Tom McDowell, the Service’s Washington Fish and Wildlife Office acting supervisor.

“Our ongoing work with partners to conserve and restore Oregon spotted frog habitat means improvements to our land and water that will benefit many other species and provide for a healthy environment for future generations,” McDowell added.

The Oregon spotted frog has disappeared from up to 90 percent of its range, mostly due to loss and degradation of wetland habitat.  Changes to the hydrology and introduced nonnative species also have impacted this frog by reducing its available habitat. 

The final rule designating critical habitat for the Oregon spotted frog is expected this fall.

To read the Federal Register notice, or for more information about management activities and conservation of Oregon spotted frog, visit http://www.fws.gov/wafwo/osf.html