California's red-legged frog may be getting some of its land back.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed on Tuesday to more than triple the habitat set aside for the threatened frog, citing scientific miscalculations and political manipulation by former Interior Department official Julie MacDonald that had greatly reduced the protected acreage.
MacDonald resigned in May 2007 after an internal investigation showed she had altered scientific conclusions to reduce protections for endangered species and had provided internal documents to lobbyists. Since then, the department has been reconsidering eight decisions made while MacDonald oversaw the endangered species program for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, part of the Interior Department.
Tuesday's decision, a result of that review, would create a 1.8-million-acre habitat in 28 Central and Northern California counties. Development and destruction of wetlands have eliminated the frogs from more than 70% of their historic range. MacDonald would have reduced what was left of the frog's range by 82%.