- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The recovery of Southern California’s mountain yellow-legged frog took a big leap forward Wednesday after federal officials agreed to develop a recovery plan for the endangered amphibian.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will lay out a proposal by the end of 2018 to protect habitat and keep the 2- to 3-inch-long, mottled yellow frogs from vanishing, according to a settlement announced by the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity.

The amphibians, whose scientific name is Rana muscosa, once thrived in the high mountain streams and lakes of the Sierra Nevada and Southern California.

However, the tadpoles became meals for non-native trout that were used to stock the lakes. Studies also showed that livestock grazing and pesticide drift contributed to their decline.

The frog was federally listed as endangered in Southern California in 2002 after its population was believed to have dwindled to fewer than 100 in isolated waters. There are now nine known populations of the frogs in the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountains.

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