A private property owner has donated 41 acres of land to the city of Laramie where about 200 endangered Wyoming toads were recently released. The landowner originally agreed to a safe harbor agreement with the Laramie Rivers Conservation District, meaning the owner can release an endangered species on their land without worrying about accidentally killing some.
That same agreement could potentially be adopted by the City since it originally set a baseline of zero toads and the City would only have to maintain that goal.
The Wyoming toad only occurs in the Laramie Valley and was believed to be extinct in the 1980s. Conservation District Director Tony Hoch said the property is at the heart of the toad's former range.
"It's basically river flood plain and it's thickly vegetated," said Hoch. "It's in a cottonwood gallery and some open grassland, and it's my understanding it's near one of the last places where the Wyoming toad was found in the wild."
The area is located at the north end of the City's greenbelt. Doug Keinath with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it would be a unique opportunity for a city to provide a safe harbor for an endangered species.
"There are people in Laramie who don't even know that this toad exists," said Keinath. "Having this toad right down potentially in areas where people can encounter it, maybe we can post interpretive signs, people can actually start seeing toads in the wild, then I think the opportunity to make it a community species and to make it a community project is so much bigger and it's more exciting to me."
Keinath said, the toad is doing exceptionally well on the property and has already been observed breeding there. The Laramie City Council will make the decision about whether to renew the current agreement later this spring.