TX Researching ESA Candidates, incl Lizard, Snake

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TX Researching ESA Candidates, incl Lizard, Snake

Post by chris_mcmartin »

http://www.texastribune.org/2014/01/23/ ... -research/

$5 million for research to include the spot-tailed earless lizard and the desert massasauga.

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Tom Lott
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Re: TX Researching ESA Candidates, incl Lizard, Snake

Post by Tom Lott »

Good catch, Chris. This appears at first glance to be a case of the fox volunteering to guard the henhouse, given the near-hysterical response by the state's ruling elite to even the suggestion of federally listing the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, which is listed (to no real effect) in adjacent New Mexico.

Competitive bidding for a research project established by the state seems kind of the opposite to the usual process where universities bring research proposals in search of grant money. The comptroller is, of course, looking for results that will argue against federal listing of these species and, like pharmaceutical companies, will ignore any findings that fail to please them. The cynic in me suspects that they already have labs in mind that will do their bidding.

Considering the Spot-tailed Earless Lizard was virtually gone even before the Eagle Ford shale boom wrought ecological havoc on the epicenter of its range, listing them at this point would probably be pointless (Texas certainly isn't going to allow any "ole lizzard" to interfere with the extraction of liquid and gaseous gold!). The race of Holbrookia lacerata and the south Texas populations of the Massasauga were both nudged down the road toward extirpation beginning about 200 years ago with the introduction of the excesses of the livestock industry, which proceeded to convert their grassland habitat into the pervasive thornscrub we see today.

At any rate, the political maneuvering should be interesting to watch - especially to see who can be bought.

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