The Species of Special Concern (SSC) list is a critical component of the management and protection of amphibians and reptiles in California. Although SSC are not afforded the same protection as federally or state listed taxa, the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and state Wildlife Action Plan recognize SSC as taxa that are in jeopardy and that require special consideration before listing becomes necessary. The designation encourages agency biologists, land managers, biological consultants, researchers and others to focus attention on these taxa. Although each species or subspecies is considered on its own, there is also value in considering geographic and taxonomic trends that may enhance our ability to manage SSC at a statewide level.
As our Timeline shows, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) has worked since August 2008 to produce 1) a complete list of species, subspecies, and potential new (but as yet un-named) taxa (based on described clades) of California amphibians and reptiles, 2) a set of risk metrics, and 3) a ’candidate list’ of potential SSC from the complete taxon list. The TAC has also completed a preliminary literature evaluation of each taxon, compiled draft occurrence maps for all candidate taxa, and has scored each of those candidate taxa for the risk metrics. Following this process we opened a 60 day public comment period which ended in August 2009. We are currently processing the additional data that were contributed and developing a final SSC list.