Endangered Salamanders Under Attack 

Despite The City of Austin issuing a resolution that opposes the Permian Highway Pipeline, and other resolutions opposing the project from many other towns and entities, a state district court judge dismissed all claims made against the pipeline. The proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, a 430-mile natural gas pipeline, will pass through two highly sensitive karst areas in Hays County, home to several species of threatened and endangered Eurycea salamanders. Not only will the pipeline disturb and alter wildlife habitats, but there is a high chance of natural gas spills and leaks.

A new report indicates contaminants from the pipeline will spread to connected waterways and reach Pleasant Valley Spring, Jacob’s Well Spring, San Marcos Springs, and Barton Springs as well as impact the health and habitats of seven federally protected species.

Any leaks of natural gas will seep into caves and groundwater and persist for decades. Natural gas consists of several harmful compounds that are known to have detrimental effects on wildlife, especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs can increase the likelihood of cancers and inhibit stages of growth, development, and reproduction in amphibians, such as salamanders.

Even the food supply for salamanders will experience adverse effects from natural gas spills since PAHs are known to shorten life spans, alter brain functioning, and inhibit reproduction in smaller aquatic species.  To protect threatened and endangered salamanders as well as other aquatic species, please sign the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association petition to stop the Permian Highway Pipeline!