An edited press release.
The ESA provides a critical safety net for America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of many others. The Service has found that the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard is presently in danger of extinction throughout its entire range, based on the immediacy, severity, and scope of the ongoing significant threats of habitat loss and fragmentation.
The Dunes Sagebrush Lizard faces immediate and significant threats due to oil and gas activities, and herbicide treatments. The species is highly restricted in its range, and the threats occur throughout its range. Habitat loss and fragmentation due to oil and gas development is a measurable factor impacting the species due to the removal of shinnery oak and creation of roads and pads, pipelines, and power lines.
The Dunes Sagebrush Lizard, found in southeastern New Mexico and adjacent west Texas, is a small, light brown lizard with a maximum snout-to-vent length of 2.8 inches for females and 2.6 inches for males. This lizard is a habitat specialist native to a small area of shinnery oak dunes extending from the San Juan Mesa in northeastern Chaves County, Roosevelt County, through eastern Eddy and southern Lea Counties in New Mexico. In Texas, the dunes sagebrush lizard is found in a narrow band of shinnery oak dunes in Gaines, Ward, Winkler, and Andrews Counties.
The Service is requesting comments or information from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, Native American Tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. The agency will consider comments received or postmarked on or before February 14, 2011. Also, the Service must receive requests within 45 days for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown below by January 28, 2011. More information is available online at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/.