Several northern Colorado communities are banding together to rid the region of American bullfrogs, an invasive species hurting the native population of northern leopard frogs.
The Longmont Times-Call reports Jefferson and Boulder counties, along with Longmont, Boulder and Fort Collins, are working with a Denver-based environmental consultant to come up with a plan to substantially decrease the population of the larger predatory bullfrogs.
"The goal isn't to eradicate all bullfrogs in Colorado or even in the Front Range," says Mac Kobza, a wildlife biologist with Boulder County. "It's to target the most important areas that we still have northern leopard frogs, which is a native species, and to systematically work together between agencies to conserve high-priority areas and remove bullfrogs from those areas over time."
Biologists say the bullfrogs often carry a fungus that can kill northern leopard frogs and have been known to eat the Colorado native Preble's meadow jumping mouse, which is listed as threatened under the United States Endangered Species Act.
Kobza says as the invasive frogs are removed, the goal is to maintain the areas free of bullfrogs and enhance the habitat for native leopard frogs to bring back pockets of population for the species.
"We're just trying to keep all the puzzle pieces, as many as we can, to keep the ecosystem in a natural state," Kobza says.
Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved. KUNC intern Christina Peacock contributed to this report.