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Austin Salamanders Protected Under Endangered Species Act

Dr. David Hills

Meet two of the newest creatures to receive federal Endangered Species Act protection: the Austin Blind Salamander and the Jollyville Plateau Salamander.

The Austin Blind Salamander – sightless, due to living deep in the Edwards Aquifer that feeds Barton Springs – was listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Jollyville Plateau Salamander, native to streams and karst formations in Travis and Williamson Counties, was listed as threatened this week.

Both of the critters serve as mascots in Austin’s growth wars: the blind salamander acting as a barometer for the health of Barton Springs, and the Jollyville salamander entwined with construction of Austin’s newest water plant.

KUT’s StateImpact Texas has much more on this weeks ruling, including Central Texas maps of the salamanders’ protected areas

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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