On August 18, 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“Service”) published in the Federal Register a final rule designating more than 1,315 acres across 14 units as critical habitat (“Final Rule”) for two neotenic salamander species known only from Williamson and Bell Counties, Texas: the Georgetown salamander (Eurycea naufragia) and Salado salamander (Eurycea chisholmensis). The species are “neotenic” because they do not transform into a terrestrial form and instead spend their entire life cycle in water. The Final Rule was published in accordance with a settlement agreement between the Service and the Center for Biological Diversity, which set deadlines for the agency to issue proposed and final critical habitat designations for the species.
The Final Rule has an effective date of September 17, 2021.