The reintroduction of the red-legged frog to the Santa Monica Mountains may be delayed because of a growing problem -- illegal pot farms.
Both are in competition for undisturbed land and deep stream water, putting a cramp on plans by the National Park Service in partnership with other agencies to bring hundreds of eggs from a population of 100 in the Simi Hills, according to PBS Newshour.
Other partners include California State Parks, USGS, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.
Marijuana cultivation has become more common in the Santa Monica Mountains since 2003, and law enforcement has been fighting to keep up. The grows have wreaked havoc on the environment.
Just last month, California State Parks rangers and Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies busted an operation in Topanga. Some 30,000 plants were destroyed.
The last known native frog was documented in the early 1970s in Cold Creek, which empties into Malibu Creek. The red-legged frog is believed to have inspired Mark Twain's 1865 classic story,"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
As law enforcement continues its drug-fighting operations, biologists will be waiting to bring the frog, which is about 5 inches long, into the Santa Monica Mountains.
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