Press Release
Service Determines Two Texas Species Do Not Warrant Listing Under the Endangered Species Act
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After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that two Texas species, the Rio Grande cooter and the Blanco blind salamander, are not warranted for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The Rio Grande cooter is a colorful freshwater turtle that occurs within the Rio Grande watershed in the Devils River, Pecos River, Rio Grande, Río Salado and Río San Juan basins. The primary factors impacting the survival of the Rio Grande cooter are the loss and decline of water quantity and the degradation of water quality.

Currently, the Rio Grande cooter exists in all of the river basins it historically occupied, with ten of 16 population analysis units evaluated to be at moderate to low risk of extirpation. Because the species has adequate levels of resiliency, redundancy and representation across its distribution currently and into the foreseeable future, we find that it is not warranted for listing under the ESA.

The Blanco blind salamander is known only from one specimen collected in 1951 from the Blanco River near San Marcos, Texas. Due to morphological similarities and the potential for groundwater connectivity, the Service determined the single individual found either represents an historical occurrence of another species, the Texas blind salamander, or a unique species that is no longer still in existence. Because the Blanco blind salamander either does not meet the definition of a listable entity or is extinct, the status review finds it does not warrant listing under the ESA.

The Service’s findings are based on recently completed reviews of the species and include input and review from academia, state agencies, species experts and others. A notice of the not warranted findings on the petitions to list the Rio Grande cooter and Blanco blind salamander can be found in the Federal Register on March 14, 2022.

Story Tags

Aquatic animals
Aquatic environment
Endangered and/or Threatened species
Rivers and streams