Environment
10:02 am
Wed August 21, 2013

Austin Salamanders Protected Under Endangered Species Act

Meet two of the newest creatures to receive federal Endangered Species Act protection: the Austin Blind Salamander and the Jollyville Plateau Salamander.

The Austin Blind Salamander – sightless, due to living deep in the Edwards Aquifer that feeds Barton Springs – was listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Jollyville Plateau Salamander, native to streams and karst formations in Travis and Williamson Counties, was listed as threatened this week.

Both of the critters serve as mascots in Austin’s growth wars: the blind salamander acting as a barometer for the health of Barton Springs, and the Jollyville salamander entwined with construction of Austin’s newest water plant.

KUT’s StateImpact Texas has much more on this weeks ruling, including Central Texas maps of the salamanders’ protected areas