First Approved Red-Legged Frog Conservation Bank in Sierra Nevada a Success for Westervelt Ecological Services



Contact: Travis Hemmen, Vice President
(916) 646-3644; [email protected]


Sacramento, Calif. – November 1, 2010 — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved Big Gun Conservation Bank in Michigan Bluff, Placer County, California, to provide mitigation for the California red-legged frog. Made famous in Mark Twain’s story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” the amphibian is federally listed as threatened by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Once abundant throughout western California and northwest Baja, the species has been dramatically reduced as a result of mining activities, intensive agriculture and development throughout this area.

Despite the bank’s location on a historic gold mining site, biologists have documented the largest number of California red-legged frogs in the entire Sierra Nevada. “What’s so incredible about this property is it shows us that, over time, even the most heavily impacted sites can remain biologically significant” said Lucy Triffleman, Westervelt Ecological Services, who is project manager for the site.

Dr. Gary Fellers, an expert California red-legged frog research scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), supported the site selection as a result of the large and robust frog population. In 2007 he said, “Preserving the Big Gun site would significantly benefit the California red-legged frog.”

After unsuccessful attempts by local, state and federal entities to purchase the property with grant money, in 2008 Westervelt Ecological Services agreed to purchase the property and assist the Service in accomplishing their recovery goals for the red-legged frog in the Sierras. With permitting of the site as a conservation bank now complete, a milestone which provides full protection of this property and its special population of red-legged frogs has been reached. The Placer Land Trust will hold the conservation easement and long-term management endowment for the property.

Big Gun Conservation Bank is permitted to sell California red-legged frog mitigation for the entire Sierra Nevada range. Projects making potential impacts within this area may learn more by contacting Travis Hemmen at (916) 646-3644 ext. 204 or email at [email protected].

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As part of The Westervelt Company, a 126 year-old land stewardship organization headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Westervelt Ecological Services was established in 2006 to reflect the organization’s sustainability mission through species conservation and wetlands mitigation banking. With primary offices inSacramento, California, and Auburn, Alabama, Westervelt Ecological Services is led by a team of well-respected professionals with lengthy backgrounds in ecological restoration and turnkey mitigation projects. Visit to learn more.