State signs agreement with Fish and Wildlife Service to set aside habitat in Permian Basin.
The dunes sagebrush lizard has been granted some protection in New Mexico that sets aside more than 387 square miles of habitat as conservation land for the embattled lizard. According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, the habitat is the largest plot of land set aside by the state as part of an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. State officials said that 29 oil and gas companies as well as 39 ranchers and private landowners have joined the state in an effort to cover more than 2.5 million acres of land.
A similar program in West Texas has also led landowners to sign up. The conservation agreements are voluntary. Energy developers and landowners protect the lizard's habitat and the Fish and Wildlife service has agreed not to require more conservation efforts if the sagebrush lizard is added to the federal Endangered Species list. The decision on whether to list the sagebrush lizard as an endangered species is expected this summer.
More information on the dunes sagebrush lizard can be found below.