WilCo commissioners hear results from second year of salamander study

Williamson County commissioners heard the preliminary findings of the second year of research on the Georgetown Salamander on July 17 from Southwestern University biology professor Ben Pierce.

The Williamson County Conservation Foundation and the county approved funding the five-year study of the Georgetown Salamander in the county's Habitat Conservation Plan. The salamander is one of four in Central Texas that is being considered for an endangered species listing by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Over the first two years, Pierce and students from Southwestern University completed monthly visual encounter surveys that counted salamanders found near two sites in Williamson County—Twin Springs Preserve and Swimbank Springs. He said the numbers counted were a representation of the salamanders seen but did not represent total numbers in the springs.

Pierce said on average, more salamanders were seen after months of major precipitation and during the spring and summer months. The study also showed a small adult population and that most salamanders had limited movement within the sites where they were located, he said.



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