The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating 7,015 acres in Mississippi and Louisiana as critical habitat for the endangered Mississippi gopher frog. Critical habitat designation protects the important characteristics that make an area hospitable for threatened and endangered species.
The Mississippi gopher frog was listed as an endangered species in 2001, but a critical habitat has not officially been designated, said USFWS public affairs specialist Connie Dickard. The gopher frog has an estimated population of 250 adults with most living in Glen’s Pond in the DeSoto National Forest in Harrison County.
The proposed critical habitat includes land that doesn’t have any of the frogs living on it, said USFWS wildlife biologist Linda LaClaire. Twelve units spread throughout Harrison, Jackson, Forrest and Perry counties and St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana are proposed as critical habitat. The units include 3,746 acres of federal-owned land, 287 acres of state-owned land and 2,983 acres of private-owned land.