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In rare move, US temporarily declares Nevada toad endangered due to incoming power plant

Dixie Valley toad
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Dixie Valley toad

In a rare emergency move, the U.S. government has temporarily declared a Nevada toad endangered because a geothermal power plant in the works about 100 miles east of Reno could result in its extinction.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Monday it is formally proposing a rule to list the Dixie Valley toad as an endangered species subject to 60 days of public comment. But it said the emergency listing goes into effect immediately.

"Primary threats to the Dixie Valley toad include geothermal development, disease, predation by other non-native frog species, groundwater pumping for human and agricultural use and climate change . The Service has determined that geothermal development poses a significant risk to the well-being of the Dixie Valley toad and that emergency listing is necessary to prevent losses that may result in its extinction. Protecting small population species like this ensures the continued biodiversity necessary to maintain climate resilient landscapes in one of the driest states in the country," the department wrote in a media release.

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It will continue for eight months while more permanent protections are considered under the Endangered Species Act for the toad, the only place it is known to exist in the world. 

On May 9 at 5 p.m. PST, the service will hold a virtual public informational meeting about the proposed listing rule. More information, and information on submitting public comment, will be posted here.

Briana Joseph is the afternoon and weekend announcer at Nevada Public Radio. She hosts during national syndication from NPR. You’ll hear her voice during All Things Considered and Weekend Edition.
Kristen DeSilva (she/her) is the online editor for Nevada Public Radio. She curates content on, our weekly newsletter and social media for Nevada Public Radio and Desert Companion.