Amphibians and reptiles occupy an important niche in the Sierra ecosystem. With support from donors, biologists have started restoring populations of rare frogs and turtles in Yosemite. As a result, the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog has rebounded from near-extinction, the western pond turtle is back in the Valley, and the California red-legged frog has returned to the park after a 50-year absence.

In 2017, your support catalyzed continued efforts to save these three species. Scientists released more turtles and red-legged frogs in the Valley, while working with a San Francisco Zoo rearing facility to ensure the animals’ young have the best chance of survival. In the high country, the team translocated 90 yellow-legged frogs to help establish populations at three alpine lakes.

Your gift supported efforts to protect Yosemite’s frogs and turtles, restore ecosystem balance and ensure future generations will experience the joy of seeing native wildlife.

Completed in partnership with Yosemite National Park, Dr. Roland Knapp (University of California, Santa Barbara), San Francisco Zoological Society, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NatureBridge and Diane Bucholz.

Rob Grasso

Aquatic Ecologist, Yosemite National Park

Project Notes

The endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog has declined drastically in Yosemite over the last two decades. However, past Conservancy-funded research indicates that populations are increasing 10% per year. This year, we reintroduce California red-legged frogs and western pond turtles to Yosemite Valley.