County Supervisors sent letter to Fish and Wildlife Service regarding economic impact of critical habitat designation
The Inyo County Board of Supervisors is nervous that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Final Rule on the Designation of Critical Habitat for the Sierra Nevada Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog (MYLF), the Northern Distinct Population Segment of the MYLF and the Yosemite Toad, which takes effect on September 26, will create negative economic impacts on the County.
At Tuesday’s regular Inyo County Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisors discussed the Final Rule, issued on August 26.
In a letter dated November 12, 2013, then-Inyo County Board of Supervisors Chairperson Linda Arcularius wrote to the FWS about the county’s concerns over the possible negative impacts of the designation of critical habitat.
Changes that would occur which concerned the Board included: grazing use would become prohibited in Coyote Flats and Mulkey Meadows; fish stocking would be prohibited at front-country lakes and nearby highly valued fisheries; fish may be removed from prime recreational fishing lakes and streams; pack stock use would be curtailed; and recreational access would be denied, the Board of Supervisors posited.
In its Final Rule, the FWS discounted most of those concerns but said that it had modified some of the Critical Habitat Units to partially address Rock Creek and Rock Creek Lake, South Lake, and Lamarck Lakes/Lamarck Creek.
The 2013 letter expressed great concern that “the results would decimate our agriculture and tourist based economy, and irreversibly alter our cultural identity and way of life. The economies of small population communities are particularly fragile, and there is significant evidence demonstrating that communities with limited economic base who see that base diminished further will see their population decline rather than grow.”