Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection

Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection

Current Status:

Case Title:
Oregon Spotted Frog Habitat Protection

Staff attorney(s):
Laurie Rule
Lizzy Potter


Center for Biological Diversity

To Protect:

Oregon Spotted Frog

Date won/settled:
October 28, 2016



October 28, 2016 – Advocates for the West reached a settlement agreement with the Bureau of Reclamation and several irrigation districts to protect the Upper Deschutes River. The agreement authorizes a temporary boost in water flows to reduce harm to the Oregon spotted frog and its habitat.

February 9, 2016 – Advocates for the West filed a preliminary injunction motion in federal court to stop the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and irrigation districts from operating Crane Prairie dam and reservoir, Wickiup dam and reservoir, and Crescent Lake dam and reservoir in ways that harm Oregon spotted frogs. We asked that the Court enter into a preliminary injunction no later than April 1, 2016 to protect spotted frogs during this breeding season and beyond.

The motion was filed with two expert declarations from Gregory Kamman and Theresa Simpson.

December 18, 2015 – Advocates for the West and The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation over harm to the federally protected Oregon spotted frog from operation of the Crane Prairie and Wickiup dams on the Deschutes River. The 2- to 4-inch long, black-spotted frog now known to fewer than 100 sites lives on the margins of both reservoirs and along the river below the dams. Large fluctuations of both the size of the reservoirs and flows in the river alternately flood or desiccate the frog’s habitat in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Case Information:

On July 21, 2015, Advocates for the West’s Senior Attorney Laurie Rule and Staff Attorney Lizzy Zultoski submitted a notice of intent to sue the Bureau of Reclamation on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity. The notice letter alleges that the agency’s operation and maintenance of the Wickiup and Crane Prairie dams on the Deschutes River in Central Oregon harms the Oregon spotted frog and violates the Endangered Species Act.

The Oregon spotted frog was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species, in part, due to habitat loss from human activities such as water diversions and dams. The Wickiup and Crane Prairie dams are near and upstream of the remaining breeding areas in the Deschutes basin. The Bureau of Reclamation’s operation of the dams inundates and desiccates the Oregon spotted frog habitat, which harms the frog by washing its eggs away or stranding the frog.

When the Oregon spotted frog was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 2014, the Bureau of Reclamation was required to consider the effects of the operation and maintenance of the dams on the frog and ensure that those effects do not jeopardize the frog and its survival. The Bureau has failed to fulfill this responsibility and take actions necessary to protect the frog.