12-month finding: Jollyville Plateau salamander
72 Fed. Reg. 71040-71052 (Dec. 13, 2007). Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Jollyville Plateau salamander (Eurycea tonkawae) as Endangered With Critical Habitat.
Image from City of Austin, Texas.
BACKGROUND: On June 13, 2005, we received a petition, dated June 10, 2005, from Save Our Springs Alliance (SOSA), requesting that the Jollyville Plateau salamander (Eurycea tonkawae) be listed as an endangered species in accordance with section 4 of the Act. The Jollyville Plateau salamander occurs in the Jollyville Plateau and Brushy Creek areas of the Edwards Plateau in Travis and Williamson Counties, TexasThose salamanders occurring in spring habitat have large, well-developed eyes; wide, yellowish heads; blunt, rounded snouts; dark greenish-brown bodies; and bright yellowish-orange tails. Some cave forms of Jollyville Plateau salamanders exhibit cave-associated morphologies, such as eye reduction, flattening of the head, and dullness or loss of color.
SUMMARY: “After review of all available scientific and commercial information, we WS find that listing the Jollyville Plateau salamander as threatened or endangered is warranted. Currently, however, listing of the Jollyville Plateau salamander is precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.”
NOTABLE ANALYSIS: “The primary threat to the species is from habitat modification (Factor A) in the form of declining water quality due to the effects of current and future urban development. Other less significant threats to the species’ habitat include declining water quantity in groundwater aquifers that support spring flows, direct habitat alterations from human disturbance, and habitat modification from nonnative feral pig activity. Some threats exist from predation by fish and infections of chytrid fungus on salamander appendages (Factor C), but neither of these threats appears to result in a substantial negative response by the species overall. In addition, State regulations and local ordinances intended to protect water quality integrity are not currently adequate to prevent habitat degradation in the aquatic environments occupied by the salamander (Factor D)... However, listing of the Jollyville Plateau salamander is precluded at this time by pending proposals for other species with higher listing priorities and actions.”