Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Listed Under Endangered Species Actdunes sagebrush lizard, Ryan Hagerty/USFWS, Public Domain, https://www.fws.gov/rivers/media/dunes-sagebrush-lizard

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Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Listed Under Endangered Species Act

The little lizard is native to about 4 percent of the lands in the 86,000 square miles of the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico.

The little lizard has been the subject of a tug of war between the USFWS, environmentalists and the oil and gas industry for several decades.

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After decades of legal wrangling, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the dunes sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus arenicolus) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The little lizard, which is native to about 4 percent of the lands in the 86,000 square miles of the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, has been the subject of a tug of war between the USFWS, environmentalists and the oil and gas industry for several decades.

Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Status Over The Years

The lizard’s status has for the last several years been a contentious issue for the state of Texas and the Texas oil industry. The agency that was set up in 2013 to monitor the voluntary protection efforts for the dunes sagebrush lizard was comprised of oil industry lobbyists, according to a report in the Texas Tribune. The Texas Habitat Conservation Foundation was formed, supposedly in an effort to ensure that the agreements laid out to protect the lizard were enforced. That agency was disbanded.

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The USFWS has found that, based on the best available scientific and commercial information, that listing of the lizard is warranted. The service notes in a press release the designation of critical habitat, which is crucial to the recovery of any endangered species, cannot be determined at the time of publication of the release.

Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Usfws Fpwc Scr

USFWS

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The lizard is only found in the shinnery oak sand dune ecosystems of West Texas. and southeastern New Mexico. This ecosystem is also home to large oil and gas development and sand mining.

The proposed and final rules on this species as well as comments received on the propose rule are available at www.regulations.gov. When entering this website, search docket number FWS-R2-ES-2022-0162.

Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Information

The dunes sagebrush lizard is found in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. The dunes sagebrush lizard is native to small areas of shinnery oak dunes in these states, according to the USFWS. USFWS has not yet determined which area should be designated as critical habitat for the lizard.