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Friday, January 23, 2015

Austin Blind Salamander Added to Texas Endangered Species List

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 6:00 AM

click image The screen grab from a City of Austin YouTube video shows the Austin blind salamander. - CITY OF AUSTIN
  • City of Austin
  • The screen grab from a City of Austin YouTube video shows the Austin blind salamander.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Commission approved adding the federally endangered Austin blind salamander to the state's list of endangered species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Austin blind salamander as endangered in 2013, and it was "inadvertently not added to the state endangered species list at the time," according to TPWD.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, population growth and urban sprawl in Central Texas threaten the salamander by degrading its aquatic habitat and pollutants like pesticides and fertilizers also damage its habitat. 

The salamander, which doesn't have external eyes and has weakly developed tail fins, is only found in and around Austin's Barton Springs, which are fed by the Edwards Aquifer.

The salamander's endangered designation was controversial at the time, with environmentalists pitted against people championing economic development, according to the Austin-American Statesman. 

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