Greens cite sprawl in lawsuit to save Texas salamander

By Michael Doyle | 05/22/2024 01:45 PM EDT

The Save Our Springs Alliance accuses the Fish and Wildlife Service of missing a September 2022 deadline for an Endangered Species Act listing decision.

The Pedernales River runs through the Texas Hill Country.

The Pedernales River runs through the Texas Hill Country. An environmental group has sued the Fish and Wildlife Service to make a decision on protections for the Pedernales River springs salamander. David J. Phillip/AP

An Austin, Texas-based environmental group is suing the Fish and Wildlife Service in a bid to protect the Pedernales River springs salamander from what the lawsuit calls a double-barreled threat of diminished water supplies and sprawling development.

Still awaiting action 2 ½ years after petitioning to list the salamander under the Endangered Species Act, the Save Our Springs Alliance charged the federal agency with missing a September 2022 decision deadline. According to the lawsuit, an FWS biologist has advised that “the Service does not plan to make the required 12-month listing determination until 2028” at the earliest.

“The Service’s unlawful delay denies crucial protections for the imperiled species, increasing the Pedernales River springs salamander’s risk of extinction,” Save Our Springs Alliance attorney Victoria Rose and Executive Director Bill Bunch wrote in the suit filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.


The salamander currently inhabits 10 known locations in the Texas Hill Country, all within a half-mile of each other, according to the suit and listing petition.