LIST: Endangered species that can be found in central Texas

AUSTIN (KXAN) There are more than 50 endangered species that can be found in the state of Texas and 11 are found in Central Texas.

KXAN has compiled a list of endangered species in Central Texas counties, which includes Travis, Bell, Williamson, Hays, Coryell, Milam, Burnet, Bastrop, McLennan, Lampasas, Blanco and Llano.

Austin blind salamander

In central Texas, the Austin Blind Salamander can only be found in Travis County, according to Texas Parks & Wildlife (TPWD).

The US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) said the Austin Blind Salamander is entirely dependent on the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer.

The main threats or reasons for listing the Austin blind salamander have been the degradation of the quality and quantity of water that makes up its aquatic habitat as a result of urban sprawl on the watershed, FWS said.

Federally, this salamander species was listed as endangered in August 2013, according to FWS.

Barton Springs salamander

At the Austin Salamander Conservation Center in the City of Austin, the city breeds the endangered Barton Springs and Austin Blind salamanders. (KXAN photo/Alyssa Goard).

The Barton Springs Salamanders habitat is found in Travis, Williamson and Hays counties and depends on the clear, pure water of the Barton Springs Aquifer for survival.

TPWD said the City of Austin conducts monthly surveys to assess the state of the salamander population at each of the four wells where the salamander is known to occur.

Austin residents and visitors will be happy to know that swimming in the Barton Springs pool poses no threat to the salamander or its habitat, TPWD said. With proper management, the pool will continue to provide refreshing enjoyment to the people and salamander habitat of Barton Springs.

The Barton Springs salamander has been classified as endangered in the United States since 1997, according to TPWD.

Comal Springs Dryopid Beetle

The Comal Springs Dryopid beetle most commonly inhabits Hays County.

This beetle species was federally listed as endangered in 1997 due to threats of overconsumption and groundwater contamination, according to FWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with our partners to ensure the springs continue to provide clean, healthy fresh water to their microhabitats and important life sciences and biological research to meet the needs of the species, FWS said.

Comal Springs Riffle Beetle

Within Central Texas, the Comal Springs Riffle Beetles’ habitat is found in Hays County.

FWS said this aquatic beetle is only the size of a strawberry seed and lives in and out of bubbling spring vents found in the headwaters of the San Marcos and Comal Spring complexes that are fed by groundwater from the Edwards Balcones fault zone.

Federally, this species was listed as endangered in 1997.

Darter Fountain

In central Texas, Fountain Darters’ habitat is found in Hays County. It lives only in the headwaters of the San Marcos and Comal Rivers, according to TPWD.

Fountain darters are in danger because there is less water flowing from the springs now than in the past, TPWD said. Human population growth and increased use of groundwater in the area have caused a decrease in flow from headwaters, especially in years of low rainfall.

This species is listed as endangered in the state of Texas, but is not considered federally endangered in the United States

Golden-cheeked warbler

Golden-Cheeked Warblers Central Texas habitat consists of Travis, Bell, Williamson, Hays, Coryell, Burnet, McLennan, Lampasas, Blanco, and Llano counties.

According to TPWD, Golden-Cheeked Warblers nest only in Central Texas in Ashe’s juniper and oak groves in ravines and canyons.

A photo of a golden-cheeked warbler. Courtesy of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Of the nearly 360 bird species that breed in Texas, the golden-cheeked warbler is the only one that breeds exclusively in Texas, TPWD said.

This bird species is considered endangered in both Texas and the United States. It was federally listed as endangered in May 1990.

Golden-cheeked warblers are in danger because many tall juniper and oak stands have been cleared to build houses, roads and shops. Some habitats have been cleared to grow crops or grass for livestock. Other areas of habitat were flooded as large lakes were built, TPWD said.

Houston toad

The Houston Toad has been endangered since 1970. Within central Texas, its habitat is primarily in Milam, Burnet and Bastrop counties.

TPWD has attributed the reason for the decline of the species to habitat loss and alteration.

According to TPWD, population surveys are being conducted in areas where toads have been found and potential habitat areas.

Brilliant with a sharp nose

According to FWS, Sharpnose Shiners Central Texas habitat is in Milam and McLennan counties.

Throughout much of its historical range, the SharpnoseShiner’s decline is attributed primarily to habitat loss and modification due to fragmentation and decreased river flow resulting from major water build-ups, droughts and groundwater withdrawals, FWS said.

According to FWS, the Sharpnose Shiner has been a subject of conservation concern since 1982, but was determined to be an endangered species in 2014.

Brilliant little eyes

The Smalleye Shiner is native to the arid prairie streams of the Brazos River system in Texas. Its habitat is mainly in Bell, Milam and McLennan counties.

Due to several threats, the SmalleyeShiner was designated as critically endangered in 2014, according to FWS.

Texas blind salamander

TPWD said the Texas Blind Salamander lives in water-filled caves of the Edwards Aquifer near San Marcos. Its central Texas habitat is in Hays County.

The Texas blind salamander depends on a constant supply of clean, fresh water from the Edwards Aquifer. Pollution and excessive water use caused by the growth of cities threaten their survival. You can help by conserving water and preventing water pollution, TPWD said.

According to TPWD, this salamander species is considered endangered in both Texas and the United States. She was federally listed as endangered in March 1967.

A pair of whooping cranes walk through shallow marsh water near the Aransas Wildlife Refuge in Fulton, Texas. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

Whooping Crane

Whooping Cranes Central Texas habitat can be found in Travis, Bell, Williamson, Hays, Coryell, Milam, Burnet, Bastrop, McLennan, Lampasas, Blanco, and Llano counties.

Whooping cranes are one of the rarest bird species in North America, TPWD said.

According to TPWD, the biggest threats to whooping cranes are man-made, including power lines, illegal hunting and habitat loss.

This bird species has been federally listed as endangered since June 1970.

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