[Publisher’s Note: This doesn’t affect Coupland directly but since it is relevant to the larger community of which Coupland is a part, I thought our readers might be interested. I also have a personal interest. I saw this happen in San Marcos and now everything that happens in the San Marcos River requires Federal approval. I want clean water. I want rivers and springs to flow. I want natural areas to be protected within reason. I do not want to put the needs of what I call “micro-species” over the needs of everything and everyone else. I believe that proper stewardship of natural resources can best be effected at a local level. The farther away the decision making process is, the less likely it is to represent our interests. Whether you agree with me or not, you have until September 19 to submit comments to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.]
WILLIAMSON COUNTY EXPLORES IMPACT OF SALAMANDERS’ STATUS
August 23, 2013 (Williamson County, TX) – On Tuesday, August 20, 2013, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the Jollyville Plateau salamander as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The Jollyville Plateau salamander lives in springs in southwestern Williamson County and in Travis County. The USFWS also granted a six month extension on any listing action for the Georgetown and Salado salamanders, also affecting Williamson County. A 30-day comment period has been opened (closing September 19, 2013) for submission of additional information on the Georgetown and Salado salamanders.
“We welcome the “Threatened” listing of the Jollyville salamander as it provides additional flexibility in dealing with conservation efforts for the species and potentially provides a path for future de-listing,” stated Williamson County Conservation Foundation (WCCF) Board President and Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey. “We believe our comments provided to the US Fish and Wildlife Service during the previous open comment periods, along with comments from many other interested parties, helped provide a basis for a threatened listing rather than the more restrictive endangered listing of the Jollyville salamander.”
The extension on a decision regarding the Georgetown and Salado salamanders provides additional time for stakeholders to submit to USFWS the latest available science and additional information on the extensive measures already in place that will continue to preserve the salamanders. Studies and data collection funded by the WCCF indicate that known salamander populations in Williamson County are healthy, flourishing and existing in both heavily-developed and rural areas. “During this extension period, we look forward to working with the USFWS towards an outcome for the Georgetown and Salado salamanders that provides a reasonable and predictable path forward,” stated WCCF Vice-President and Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long.