EPIC and the Center for Biological Diversity secured a victory for three species of Shasta salamanders today: A new settlement will speed up the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision on whether the animals warrant Endangered Species Act protection. The agency is now required to make that decision by April 30, 2021.
The salamanders are imminently threatened by plans to raise the height of Northern California’s Shasta Dam, which would result in flooding of their habitat.
In response to a 2012 petition from the Center, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined in 2015 that the Shasta salamander may warrant protection. Since that time, however, the animals were recognized by scientists as belonging to three distinct species, each of which is rare and imperiled.
“Endangered Species Act protection is essential to preventing the extinction of these unique salamanders,” said Jenny Loda, a Center biologist and attorney working to protect vulnerable amphibians and reptiles. “Renewed efforts to raise th