The Fish and Wildlife Service has apparently decided to finally grant protection under the Endangered Species Act to California Tiger Salamanders throughout their range. While the government missed its promised May 15 deadline, it at least decided to go ahead with the listing, contrary to the wishes of developers. The timing is also fortuitous for CGF, coinciding with the headline article for the latest Green Footnotes article.
Something that is a little unusual about this listing is that ranching activities that harm salamanders will be allowed, without the usual provision that a permit must first be issued. Usually species listed as “threatened” get the same protection as species as ones listed as “endangered”, but this time an exception was made. If the salamanders had been listed as endangered, no exceptions for the permit requirement would have been possible.
We can now expect the usual rhythm in conservation – before a species is listed, developers claim to find it everywhere, so no listing is needed. After it’s listed, developers claim the species is nowhere to be found (at least on their own property), so there is no need to restrict their development. To be fair, conservation groups often make the exact opposite conclusions.
The other thing to watch for would be Stanford University’s submission of an application for a permit that would allow it to harm tiger salamanders.