FWS proposes delisting of the Concho Water Snake
73 Fed. Reg. 38956 (July 8, 2008)(DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Removal of the Concho Water Snake (Nerodia paucimaculata) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Removal of Federally Designated Critical Habitat; Proposed rule).
The Concho water snake is endemic to the Colorado and Concho Rivers in central Texas, and can be found in rivers and streams, and on artificial shoreline
habitat of area reservoirs. Copyrighted photo courtesy Martin Whiting, with use allowed for educational purposes, available online from Texas Parks and Wildlife.
SUMMARY: The best available scientific and commercial data indicate that the Concho water snake (Nerodia paucimaculata) has recovered. Therefore, under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) propose to remove (delist) the Concho water snake (Nerodia paucimaculata) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife, and accordingly, also remove its federally designated critical habitat. This determination is based on a thorough review of all available information, which indicates that the threats to this species have been eliminated or reduced to the point that the species has recovered and no longer meets the definition of threatened or endangered under the Act. The Concho water snake is a reptile endemic to central Texas. It was listed as threatened on September 3, 1986, due to threats of habitat modification and destruction (51 FR 31412). Through implementation of recovery efforts, the Service has determined that this species has been recovered and no longer meets the definition of threatened or endangered.
NOTEWORTHY EXCERPT: A review of the best scientific and commercial data currently available (see Summary of Factors Affecting the Species section below) indicates that all three criteria in the Concho water snake recovery plan (adequate instream flows even after delisting, viable populations in each of the three major river reaches, and movement of snakes to assure adequate genetic mixing) have been met. Further, recovery of the Concho water snake has been a dynamic process, which has been furthered by the significant amount of new data collected on the biology and ecology of the species by numerous species experts. Since the time of listing and completion of the recovery plan, biologists have discovered that the snakes are able to persist and reproduce in the shorelines of reservoirs and that the snakes have managed to persist in all three population segments, surviving many years of drought. Based on this new information, the analysis below considers the best available data in determining that the Concho water snake may no longer meet the definition of a threatened or endangered species.
Federal Register documents related to the Concho Water Snake from FWS
Concho Water Snake Recovery Plan (1993)
1999 petition to delist the species by Colorado River Municipal Water District (CRMWD) and related article on the long-standing controversy