Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, December 3, 2018

Contact: Elise Bennett, (727) 755-6950,

Lawsuit Launched to Speed Habitat Protection for Two Texas Salamanders

Georgetown, Salado Salamanders' Springs Imperiled by Urban Sprawl, Pollution

AUSTIN, Texas— The Center for Biological Diversity today filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to designate critical habitat in central Texas for the Georgetown salamander and Salado salamander.

These habitat safeguards, under the Endangered Species Act, are more than four years overdue and follow a pattern of missed statutory deadlines on wildlife protection.

“It’s time for these amazing amphibians to get the long-overdue habitat protection they need to survive,” said Elise Bennett, a Center attorney dedicated to imperiled reptiles and amphibians. “Habitat degradation put the Georgetown and Salado salamanders on the path to extinction. Protecting their springs in central Texas is absolutely crucial if we’re going to see these animals recover.”

Both species have feathery gills allowing them to live their entire lives underwater in springs, spring runs, wet caves and groundwater around the northern part of the Edwards Aquifer in central Texas.

The Georgetown salamander is grayish with a short snout, red gills and large eyes with gold irises. The Salado salamander is grayish brown with light flecks and a fin along the top of its tail.

These fully aquatic animals require clean, well-oxygenated water. They’re threatened by activities that disturb their surface springs, pollute their water or reduce flow to their underground aquatic habitats.

“Protecting freshwater habitat is crucial to recovering these fascinating salamanders, and it ensures plentiful clean water for people,” said Bennett. “We’re all in this together, so it’s in our best interest to finally protect these important water supplies.”

The two species languished for more than a decade before receiving protection as “threatened” species under the Endangered Species Act in 2014. Years later the salamanders still await the critical habitat protection they’re entitled to under the Act.

Georgetown salamander

Georgetown salamander photo by Nathan Bendik. This image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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