A friend who happens to be retired from my state’s Wildlife and Parks Department sent the following to me in an email. According to The Oregonian, both of these letters are real. A picture of both letters appears below.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently sent a letter to Larry and Amanda Anderson asking if the department could do a survey of foothill yellow-legged frogs on their property. The Anderson’s sent a reply that they would be more than happy to allow ODFW to complete the survey – with a few stipulations. Anyone who has applied for special hunting permits or licenses might recognize some of the requirements.
First, the letter from ODFW:
Letter From Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife:
ODFW Staff will be conducting surveys for foothill yellow-legged frogs & other amphibians over the next few months. As part of this research, we would like to survey the creek on your property. I am writing this letter to request your permission to access your property.
Recent research indicates that foothill yellow-legged frogs have declined significantly in recent years and are no longer found at half their historic sites. Your cooperation will be greatly appreciated and will help contribute to the conservation of this important species.
Please fill out the attached postage-paid postcard and let us know if you are willing to let us cross your property or not.
If you have any concerns about this project please give us a call. We would love to talk with you about our research.
Conservation Strategy Implementation Biologist
Response from Property Owners, Larry and Amanda Anderson:
Dear Mr. Niemela:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding accessing our property to survey for the yellow-legged frog. We may be able to help you out with this matter.
We have divided our 2.26 acres into 75 equal survey units with a draw tag for each unit. Application fees are only $8.00 per unit after you purchase the “Frog Survey License” ($120.00 resident / $180.00 Nonresident). You will also need to obtain a “Frog Habitat” parking permit ($10.00 per vehicle).
You will also need an “Invasive Species” stamp ($15.00 for the first vehicle and $5.00 for each add’l vehicle) You will also want to register at the Check Station to have your vehicle inspected for non-native plant life prior to entering our property.
There is also a Day Use fee, $5.00 per vehicle.
If you are successful in the Draw you will be notified two weeks in advance so you can make necessary plans and purchase your “Creek Habitat” stamp. ($18.00 Resident / $140.00 Non-Resident).
Survey units open between 8am and 3pm but you cannot commence survey until 9am and must cease all survey activity by 1pm.
Survey Gear can only include a net with a 2″ diameter made of 100% organic cotton netting with no longer than an 18″ handle, non-weighted and no deeper than 6′ from net frame to the bottom of the net. Handles can only be made of BPA-free plastics or wooden handles.
After 1pm you can use a net with a 3″ diameter if you purchase the “Frog Net Endorsement” ($75.00 Resident / $250 Non-Resident). Any frogs captured that are released will need to be released with an approved release device back into the environment unharmed.
As of June 1, we are offering draw tags for our “Premium Survey” units and application is again only $8.00 per application. However, all fees can be waived if you can verify “Native Indian Tribal rights and status.
You will also need to provide evidence of successful completion of “Frog Surveys and You” comprehensive course on frog identification, safe handling practices, and self-defense strategies for frog attacks.
This course is offered online through an accredited program for a nominal fee of $750.00.
Please let us know if we can be of assistance to you. Otherwise, we decline your access to our property but appreciate your inquiry.
Larry & Amanda Anderson
Larry Andersen told TheBlaze that the letter, which clearly takes aim at ODFW’s rules and regulations, was “all meant to be fun,” adding that he knows Steve Niemela, the man who sent him the original request, and “he’s a good guy, a really good guy.”
Russ Stauff, Rogue Watershed Manager for the ODFW said, “We absolutely took it in good fun”.
“It was a very creative and well-written letter,” he added.
Stauff says the program to survey foothill yellow-frogs is a federally funded project that implements the Oregon Conservation Strategy.
“We never go on private property without requesting permission ahead of time,” says Stauff. He adds that while the majority of people do grant the survey team access, there’s no expectation that they all will and no problem when they don’t.
“Mr. Anderson’s letter was very much appreciated by us,” says Stauff, adding: “It may have been more popular within the agency than anywhere else.”