Foundation gets big money to save tiny frog

Sequoia Parks Conservancy gets $250,000 to help save the endangered mountain yellow-legged frogs from extinction in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks   

The Sun-Gazette

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK – Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are getting a large sum of money to save  some of its smallest inhabitants.

Last week, Sequoia Parks Conservancy, the official nonprofit partner to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, announced it had received $250,000 to support the recovery of a federally listed endangered species (the mountain yellow-legged frog), and numerous associated vertebrate species in the National Park.

The mountain yellow-legged frog was once the most abundant amphibian in Southern California’s Sierra Nevada and Transverse Ranges. Just decades ago, it was hard to walk around many of California’s alpine lakes without tripping over these diminutive “mountain gnomes” at just 1.5 to 3.5 inches long.

But today these hardy survivors of freezing, high-elevation winters are vulnerable to a host of modern threats. In fact these frogs are extinct in more than 93 percent of their old mountain homes. Named after its light orange or yellow thighs, the Mountain yellow-legged frogs have been part of a flagship research and restoration program due to populations being affected by non-native trout and infected with the disease (chytridiomycosis), which is decimating frog populations worldwide. It has long been the goal of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon aquatic restoration team to help save these frogs from going locally extinct.

Money from the grant will be used to increase frog resiliency to invasive species and climate change, restore critical habitat, reestablish lost populations of mountain yellow-legged frogs, augment vulnerable populations, and support the partnership with captive rearing programs at the Oakland Zoo and San Francisco Zoo. 

The grant was awarded by The Dorrance Family Foundation, a tax-exempt organization that awards grants to a variety of nonprofits in geographic areas that are personally significant to the Dorrance Family; Arizona, California, and the Island of Hawai’i. Grants are received and considered by invitation only. The award is part of the Foundation’s Animals of the Sierra Nevada Grant Program, which provides support for high-performing nonprofits demonstrating effectiveness and expertise in the preservation, protection, and recovery of imperiled and at-risk wildlife of the Sierra Nevada. 

“The National Park Service is grateful for the support provided by The Dorrance Family Foundation,” said Woody Smeck, Superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “The grant will enable us to recover critical habitat for endangered species that are dependent on fragile, high elevation lakes and wetlands.”

Sequoia Parks Conservancy is the official nonprofit partner of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, working hand-in-hand with the National Park Service to support critical park programs including education and outreach, trails and access, wildlife management, search and rescue, and resource management and science. Learn more at

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