[Federal Register: September 21, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 182)]
[Page 55412-55413]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Barton Springs Salamander Recovery 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability of the approved Barton Springs Salamander Recovery Plan 
(Recovery Plan). The Barton Springs salamander (Eurycea sosorum) is 
known to occur near four spring outlets that collectively make up 
Barton Springs in Austin, Texas. Habitat loss and modification from 
water quality and water quantity degradation are the primary threats 
facing the species. The Recovery Plan outlines the necessary criteria, 
objectives, and tasks to reduce these threats and accomplish the goal 
of delisting the Barton Springs salamander.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the Recovery Plan may be requested by contacting 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Austin Ecological Services Field 
Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, Texas, 78758. The 
Recovery Plan may also be obtained from the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/recovery/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Field Office Supervisor, Austin 
Ecological Services Field Office, at the above address; telephone (512) 
490-0057, facsimile (512) 490-0974.



    The Barton Springs salamander (Eurycea sosorum) was listed as 
endangered on May 30, 1997, under authority of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act) (62 FR 23377). The water that discharges 
from Barton Springs is essential to the survival of the salamander. It 
originates from the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer, a 
karst limestone aquifer containing a complex system of caves, 
sinkholes, fractures, and faults. The Edwards Aquifer is particularly 
vulnerable to contamination and land use changes that degrade the 
quality of storm water runoff. The primary threat facing the survival 
and recovery of this species is the degradation of water quality and 
quantity of water that feeds Barton Springs, as a result of 
urbanization over the Barton Springs watershed (including roadway, 
residential, commercial, and industrial development). The Recovery Plan 
includes information about the species, its habitat, and current 
conservation efforts. Further, it provides recovery criteria that, when 
reached, will signify that the species has recovered to a point where 
it no longer warrants listing as endangered or threatened. Recovery 
actions are provided to guide recovery implementation and achieve 
recovery criteria.
    Reclassification from endangered to threatened (downlisting) will 
be considered when the following recovery criteria have been met: (1) 
Mechanisms (such as laws, rules, regulations, and cooperative 
agreements) are in place to ensure non-degradation of water quality in 
the Barton Springs watershed; (2) a plan to avoid, respond to, and 
remediate hazardous materials spills within the Barton Springs 
watershed is in place with high priority measures implemented to 
minimize risks to the Barton Springs salamander to a low level; (3) 
measures to ensure that continuous, natural springflows are maintained 
at all four spring outlets are in place and succesful; (4) a healthy, 
self-sustaining natural population of Barton Springs salamanders is 
maintained within its historical range; (5) measures to remove local 
threats to the Barton Springs ecosystem have been implemented; (6) 
captive populations of Barton Springs salamanders have been established 
in secure locations under the direction of a Captive Propagation and 
Contingency Plan.
    The Recovery Plan proposes delisting of the Barton Springs 
salamander when the downlisting criteria have been achieved and the 
following additional recovery criteria have been met: (1) Water quality 
protection mechanisms are shown to be effective and commitments are in 
place to continue protection; (2) measures to implement the 
catastrophic spill avoidance, response and remediation plans are 
ensured; (3) measures to maintain adequate springflows are shown to be 
effective; (4) the Barton Springs salamander population is shown to be 
viable and stable or increasing; (5) measures to remove local threats 
to the Barton Springs ecosystem are shown to be effective and a 
commitment is in place to continue the appropriate management of the 
surface habitat; (6) captive breeding is shown to be effective and 
reliable and commitments are in place to maintain adequate captive 
populations for any needed restoration work.
    Due to the Barton Springs salamander's reliance on continuous flow 
of clean spring water, many of the high-priority recovery tasks 
outlined in the Recovery Plan are designed to ensure adequate water 
quality and quantity within the Barton Springs watershed, such as: (1) 
Developing and implementing catastrophic spill avoidance, response, and 
remediation plans; (2) implementing programs to protect sensitive 
environmental features important to salamander habitat or the effective 
recharge of clean water such as caves, sinkholes, fissures, springs, 
and riparian zones; (3) developing and implementing programs to 
identify and correct problems from point and non-point source pollution 
discharges; and (4) creating a regional management program that will be 
used to ensure the protection of aquifer level and springflows under 
normal and drought conditions. Other high-priority recovery actions 
include ensuring protection for existing spring habitats and 
establishing and maintaining adequate captive breeding populations.
    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of the Service's endangered species program. To help 
guide the recovery effort, the Service is working to prepare recovery 
plans for most of the listed species native to the United States. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for conservation 
of listed species, establish criteria for downlisting or delisting 
those species, and estimate time and cost for implementing the recovery 
measures needed.
    The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed 
species unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a 
particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act, as amended in 1988, 
requires that public notice and an opportunity for public review and 
comment be provided during recovery plan development. The Service 
considers all information presented during a public comment period 
prior to approval of each new or revised recovery plan. The Service and 
others also take these comments into account in the course of 
implementing recovery plans.

    Authority: This document is published under the authority of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

[[Page 55413]]

    Dated: August 18, 2005.
Larry G. Bell,
Regional Director, Region 2, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-18789 Filed 9-20-05; 8:45 am]