The mountain yellow-legged frog was once the most abundant amphibian in the Sierra Nevada, but today its population has diminished by 93 percent. Despite these staggering statistics, one scientist, who’s devoted 20 years of his career to the species, believes recovery is still possible.
For Roland Knapp, research biologist at the University of California Sierra Nevada Aquatic Laboratory, it’s all about striking a balance — specifically a balance between alpine lakes that contain non-native fish and fish-less habitats for the frogs.
“The high elevation portion of the Sierra Nevada, which includes almost all of the natural lakes, was almost completely fish-less historically,” explained Knapp. “This was the primary habitat of the mountain yellow-legged frog because they don’t get along with another predator, especially one that is capable of preying on them.”