The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service greatly underestimated the economic impact of listing four Central Texas salamanders as endangered, according to consultants hired by the Williamson County Conservation Foundation. The listing would cost closer to half a billion dollars — a far cry from Fish and Wildlife’s estimated $29 million over 23 years — the consultants told commissioners Tuesday.
The economic analysis released in January by Fish and Wildlife estimated the cost of designating 6,475 acres in Travis, Williamson and Bell counties as critical habitat for the Austin blind, Jollyville Plateau, Georgetown and Salado salamanders. The federal government proposed listing the species as needing protections under the Endangered Species Act last August.
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