The Texas Salamander Coalition sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on July 26 that said the three salamander species found in Williamson County are, in fact, the same species.
The nonprofit was formed to represent people whose property value could be affected if USFWS lists certain salamander species in the area as endangered.
The letter refers to a review completed by Michael Forstner and funded by the coalition that analyzed studies supporting the three salamanders as separate species.
“The goal was to get a better understanding of what the [USFWS] and the people of Williamson County are dealing with,” said Robert Kleeman, an attorney representing the coalition.
Forstner’s research, including a genetic study funded by the TSC, concluded that the three species, including the Jollyville, Georgetown and Salado salamanders are the same but possess different physical attributes, according to a news release from the group.
The coalition presented the three scientific papers to USFWS based on analyses of DNA and a review of existing scientific papers that support the one species theory.
Kleeman said that if the Georgetown, Jollyville and Salado salamanders are one species, it would affect how the species is treated and if it would be listed as endangered.
According to the news release, the TSC requests a independent review of the DNA study and other issues, including using experts from outside Texas.
For more information and to read the study, visit www.texassalamander.com.