Did you know that the specific name of the Barton Springs Salamander (Eurycea sosorum) is derived from the acronym SOS for Save Our Springs?
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the Save Our Springs ordinance, which was a “a voter-driven initiative to protect Barton Springs against unrestricted development in the Barton Creek watershed” (to quote Amy Smith’s Chronicle article today). The Austin Chronicle has produced a series of articles and timelines about the history of the SOS movement in Austin in this week’s issue.
Check out the City of Austin’s new salamander page, with information about the city’s efforts to conserve the Barton Springs Salamander (Eurycea sosorum), Austin Blind Salamander (Eurycea waterlooensis), and Jollyville Plateau Salamander (Eurycea tonkawae)! http://austintexas.gov/department/salamanders
An article appeared today in the SustainaBlog entitled, “How Austin Residents Learned to Coexist with the Barton Springs Salamander”.
Meet Order of the Arrow national chief and Austin Salamander Savior Jonathan Hillis
Congrats to Austin Salamander Savior Jonathan Hillis for his election as 2011 National Chief of the Order of the Arrow, which recognizes Boy Scouts who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. Here’s an excerpt from last weeks’ article in the Summit Blog about Jonathan:
“As the son of a biology professor, Hillis has a certain affinity for environmental studies. He chose to develop conservation efforts for the highly endangered Barton Springs Salamander (Eurycea sosorum). Interestingly, his own father, Dr. David Hillis, discovered the species.
Hillis organized the restoration of habitat, which is only found in the Edwards Aquifer in Texas, his home state. Hillis began the project by removing silt and concrete from the springs, while also organizing the reconstruction of the drainage systems. To top it all off, he replanted native vegetation which helped hold the revitalized environment together.
As a result of his efforts, Hillis received the William T. Hornaday Award for conservation from the Boy Scouts of America, while also getting some local recognition, too.
The mayor of his hometown gave him the honorary title of “Austin Salamander Savior,” and when Hillis received the Vigil Honor, he received the Vigil name “Savior of the Salamanders.””
Click here to read the full article: What Do Salamanders, Texas And The OA Have In Common? | Summit Blog!.
An article by Betsy Blaney of the Associated Press appeared in the Austin American Statesman yesterday (August 30, 2011) entitled, “State prepares to capture, move endangered Hill Country species if drought worsens” and discusses the impact of the current drought on aquatic species throughout the hill country, including some of the Texas Eurycea, and the development of possible contingency plans should any springs go dry. In related news, an MSNBC photoblog post by Rich Shulman depicts the Texas Blind Salamander (Eurycea rathbuni) and San Marcos Salamander (Eurycea nana). This follows last Friday’s article in the Statesman on how the drought is affecting the Barton Springs Salamander, Eurycea sosorum.
It’s too bad it takes a severe drought to get Eurycea in the news, but I’m glad they are getting some attention.
ARKive.org (an online archive of images and videos of rare and threatened species) recently featured the Barton Springs Salamander (Eurycea sosorum) on its “ARKive On The Road” blog during the Ecological Society of America meeting in Austin, Texas. Click here to read the full story. If you’ve never explored ARKive.org, take a few minutes to see what it has to offer.
Call for photos and videos of Texas Eurycea!
Many species of the Texas Eurycea are featured on ARKive.org, and the site is in need of high-quality videos of many of the Texas Eurycea species in their natural habitats. Consider this an open call to EuryceAlliance members who have such video to please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know what type of video you have for which species of Eurycea. I’ll pass on your contact info and a list of videos to the ARKive organizers . Images and video are especially needed for the Salado Salamander (Eurycea chisholmensis).
You may also notice that not all of the species profiles on ARKive.org for the Texas Eurycea are complete. A program called ARKive and Universities in which graduate students write species profiles (that are credited to them on the website) that are then reviewed by species experts. If you have any graduate students that are interested in writing Texas Eurycea profiles, or are willing to serve as a reviewer for these profiles, please email email@example.com and I’ll pass on your information to ARKive.
Thanks for your interest!