Dixie Valley Toad granted endangered species protections

A Dixie Valley toad. Photo courtesy of the University of Nevada, Reno.
A Dixie Valley toad. Photo courtesy of the University of Nevada, Reno.(KOLO)
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 8:33 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Thursday it has finalized Endangered Species Act protections for the Dixie Valley toad.

The toad, which lives in a single hot spring-fed wetland in Churchill County, had previously been under protection since April, though only on an emergency order.

“Dixie Valley toads are among the most vulnerable amphibians in the United States, and I’m relieved they’re getting the life-saving protections they need,” said Patrick Donnelly, Great Basin director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re pleased that the Biden administration is taking this essential step to prevent the extinction of an irreplaceable piece of Nevada’s special biodiversity.”

The toad faces the possibility of extinction due to a geothermal energy project being developed directly adjacent to its sole habitat. Projects of this kind have been known to dry up nearby hot springs, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The center has been asking for these protections since 2017, when the project was first proposed.

“This is a significant victory in the fight against the extinction crisis in Nevada,” said Donnelly. “Renewable energy is essential to combating the climate emergency, but it can’t come at the cost of extinction.”