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CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good

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Leander Ledger, January 26, 2012

ESA a good thing

By Collette Adkins Giese

On Jan. 19 the Leander Ledger published “Foundation adds funding to local salamander study,” in which Cedar Park City Council member Tony Dale criticizes the Endangered Species Act in reference to efforts by the Center for Biological Diversity and Save Our Springs Alliance to gain Endangered Species Act protection for the Jollyville Plateau salamander.

This tiny salamander — which exists nowhere in the world except Texas — could be driven extinct by the construction of an Austin water treatment project in the heart of its spring-fed habitat. Another threat is urban development, which provides sources of various pollutants that cause salamander deformities.

Protection under the Endangered Species Act is the best way to ensure the salamander’s survival. Contrary to Councilmember Dale’s assertion, federal protection would not impinge on private property rights. Federal protection would require reasonable steps to mitigate threats to the salamander and its habitat, likely including measures to reduce water pollution, which is undoubtedly in the public interest.
The Endangered Species Act saved the bald eagle, American alligator and scores of others, and hopefully, someday, the Jollyville Plateau salamander can be added to the act’s long list of success stories.

Collette Adkins Giese,
Herpetofauna Staff Attorney
Center for Biological Diversity
Circle Pines, Minnesota

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton