All Photos: California Red-legged Frogs, NPS photos

The California red-legged frog (Rana draytonii) was designated as Federally Threatened by U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 1996. A species recovery plan was adopted in 2002 which defined actions needed to recover the species to sufficient numbers throughout all or part of their range with the goal of de-listing. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) is part of the designated “zone 8” recovery area and “core habitat area 27” identified in the 2002 FWS recovery plan.

California red-legged frogs are an extremely important resource to the SMMNRA because of their rarity and extreme threat level. Once common in southern California, there are currently only three small populations of red-legged frogs in Los Angeles County, with only one population of red-legged frogs within SMMNRA and surrounding area. The population of red-legged frogs in SMMNRA and Simi Hills is critically small and isolated, and there is great concern about the long-term persistence of the existing population. Re-establishment of new populations would prevent extirpation from the park, in the case of a catastrophic event.

The project goal seeks to evaluate the potential for red-legged frog reintroduction into suitable stream habitats on state and federal lands within Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Finding suitable habitat at potential re-location sites requires standard survey methods.