Endangered Species
Ecological Services
October 27, 2011

Recovery Success Stories| Concho Water Snake (07:32)

Host: Ann Haas with Adam Zerrenner, Andrew Gluesenkamp, and Lesli Gray

Concho water snake (click to view larger)
Concho water snake
Photo credit: Michael Forstner, Ph.D., Texas State University at San Marcos

The Concho Water Snake Makes a Comback

Conservationists are celebrating the recovery of the Concho water snake (Nerodia paucimaculata) and its removal from the federal list of threatened species. This follows the recent celebration of the recovery of the Lake Erie watersnake (Nerodia sipedon insularum).

Citing the effects of a multi-year conservation effort involving the Colorado River Municipal Water District and other partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has determined that the Concho water snake has fully recovered and no longer requires the protection of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This determination is based on a thorough review of all available information, including new information, which indicates that the threats to this species have been eliminated or reduced to the point that the species no longer meets the ESA's definition of threatened or endangered.

The Concho water snake was listed as threatened on September 3, 1986, due primarily to threats of habitat modification and destruction. Endemic to central Texas, the Concho water snake exists nowhere else in the world. The species is found only in the Colorado and Concho rivers, and on artificial shoreline habitat of the Ballinger Municipal Lake and the E.V. Spence and O.H. Ivie Reservoirs. In rivers, the Concho water snake is found mainly in or near riffles–that is shallow, fast-moving water–while in reservoirs, snakes are usually found in rocky areas near the habitats associated with schools of small fishes, such as shallow, rocky shorelines.

The Service has prepared a post-delisting monitoring plan for the Concho water snake in cooperation with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Colorado River Municipal Water District. The plan calls for surveys to be conducted over a 15-year period to measure the presence and abundance of snakes across its range and to evaluate changing stream conditions that affect the snake's habitat. These efforts will ensure the snake remains secure after it is removed from the federal list of threatened species.

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Last updated: July 15, 2013