By TRACIE CONE (AP)
Biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hope their third attempt at rules protecting the threatened and iconic amphibian will stick when they are published Wednesday in the Federal Register.
One previous attempt was overturned by a lawsuit, another by malfeasance.
"It's not common to do this three times, but this is an icon species for California," spokesman Al Donner said.
The California red-legged frog got its first break on the road to fame in 1867, when Twain published "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" in newspapers and a collection of short stories.
Even then, prospectors and city dwellers were hunting the frogs by the millions for their meaty legs.
Fast forward to 1996, when much of the famous jumper's range had been paved and plowed under, leaving suitable habitat in just 28 of 58 California counties and landing the frog on the federal threatened species list.
Finding a protective balance since then has been a biological tightrope act. Its potential presence has been used by environmental advocates to rein in everything from pesticide spraying to golf course development at Pebble Beach. San Francisco Bay Area housing tracts have also been halted.
Posted by Steve Sinai