City Plans to Protect Blind Salamander
By Olivia Gordon
The city of Austin is rewriting its plan to protect the endangered Barton Springs salamander while keeping Barton Springs and Zilker Park open. Part of the new plan includes protecting the Austin blind salamander.
These proposed changes are facing opposition from some of the state’s federal lawmakers. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn introduced a bill to stop the Austin blind salamander from getting classified as endangered. He says the protection plans could hamper the area’s economic future.
“My goal is to make sure the salamanders and people can peacefully co-exist, and we can take care of the concerns about these species but also at the same time not stop the economic growth and job creation that comes along with the boom we are seeing here in Texas and in this part of the state, which has made us the envy of the rest of the country if not the world,” Cornyn said.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency in charge of endangered species, does not have a position on the legislation. It will review the city’s protection plan and decide whether the salamander should be an endangered species this fall.