California Drought Killing Frogs, Salamanders in the East Bay

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The worsening drought is causing creeks, ponds and wells to run dry across the state. 

Park officials in the East Bay say it’s an emergency that’s killing off animals like frogs and salamanders, who need water to breed. 

The lack of water is also pushing coyotes and deer away from their habitats and closer to ours. 

“When someone has a glass of water at a friend’s house and they just knock it down the sink before they leave, I get kind of upset, ‘no you could’ve watered a plant’,” said Ava Johnson of Concord. 

On the US Drought Monitor Map, the North and East Bay are covered in maroon – the color that represents the category no one wants to be in: exceptional drought. 

Matt Graul with the East Bay Regional Park says that spells death for species already on the brink of extinction. 

“We’re concerned that our endangered species, the California red legged frog and the California tiger salamander aren’t able to complete their full breeding cycle,” he said.

It’s common for ponds to dry up in the Bay Area, but this year, Graul says the ponds dried up much earlier, kicking off a domino effect of hungry animals like coyotes scouring for food. 

“A lot of the rodent population has decreased significantly so that’s what they depend on – so if they’re not finding it in our parks, they’re going to find it in urban areas,” Graul said.

Even grazing cattle ran out of water. 

“We’ve had to remove the cattle early from those parks because there wasn’t water and it wasn’t healthy for the cows to remain on the land,” Graul said.

The one-two punch of climate change and this year’s drought is also killing off 15-hundred acres of trees in the East Bay Regional Park district. Graul says the district is doing its best to mitigate water sources, as it prepares for an even drier fall. 

“I don’t want ice to be the monetary figure of the future,” said Johnson.

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