Foothill yellow-legged frogs are striking stream-dwelling amphibians with a distinctive lemon-yellow color under their legs. They live in Pacific drainages from the upper reaches of the Willamette River system, in Oregon, all the way south to the Upper San Gabriel River in Los Angeles County, California — as well as in streams on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, as high as 6,300 feet.

These attractive frogs can be gray, brown or reddish on their backs.


Once thriving across their range, now foothill yellow-legged frogs have disappeared from more than half their historical range due to a long list of threats, from logging and livestock grazing to dams and disease.

The species has today disappeared from Santa Barbara County to San Diego County, and its populations have declined severely in the southern Sierra Nevada, on the Central California and Southern California coasts, in the Bay Area, and in central Oregon. All these areas may contain distinct populations or subspecies of yellow-legged frogs — each of which is special in its own right.


Following our petition to protect foothill yellow-legged frogs under California's state Endangered Species Act, in 2019 the California Fish and Game Commission listed the southern Sierra, Central Coast and South Coast populations as endangered and the northern Sierra and Feather River populations as threatened.

And in 2023, in response to a Center petition and lawsuits, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted federal Endangered Species Act protection to four populations of foothill yellow-legged frogs in California — the southern Sierra Nevada foothills, North Feather River, Central Coast and South Coast populations.

We’re also working to protect yellow-legged frog habitat throughout California. We do that by pushing for reined-in pesticide use, helping reform the state's fish-stocking policies, and challenging harmful land-management practices on federal lands like logging, grazing and mining.

Check out our press releases to learn more about the Center's actions for foothill yellow-legged frogs.

Foothill yellow-legged frog photo courtesy Flickr/Bree McGhee.