SWCASC Research on Foothill Yellow-legged Frog and Climate Refugia Lead to Science-based Solutions

July 12, 2022

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Photo by USFWS: Foothill Yellow-legged Frog https://www.fws.gov/media/179286

SW CASC-funded research, conducted by Claudia Mengelt (program manager of land management research at USGS) and Toni Lyn Morelli (USGS research ecologist with the Northeast CASC), was recently featured in an article from Sierra Magazine. The article detailed exploration of climate refugia for the foothill yellow-legged frog. The frog’s habitat is found in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, but populations have been declining due to invasive species and climate change-driven drought. Land managers are now focusing their efforts on a conservation plan for the foothill yellow-legged frog that considers climate adaptation strategies. 

The SWCASC-funded researchers are mapping climate refugia locations and are bridging the “‘knowledge to action’ barrier” by providing land managers with science-based solutions so they can develop decisions based on the data they generate as a part of the project. Mapping locations of climate refugia and the existing range of the frog species allows land managers to communicate actionable, useful science to policymakers. The maps will also provide information to land managers about where conservation efforts should be prioritized. Conservation efforts, such as the reintroduction of the frogs, requires knowledge of where frog populations are flourishing right now or could flourish in the future. Ultimately, the researchers and land managers are hoping to save the species and assist them in adapting to a changing climate.