On a conference call Wednesday afternoon, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar expressed confidence that what he called the “unprecedented” voluntary conservation efforts by Texas and New Mexico would keep the dunes sagebrush lizard viable.
“I’m 100 percent confident that [the conservation agreements] will be effective,” Salazar said, adding that the efforts in the Permian Basin could become a conservation model for other parts of the country.
Dan Ashe, the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said that his department would monitor the conservation agreements on a yearly basis, and that if there is backsliding, ultimately the department could again propose the lizard for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
“We have determined that the lizard is no longer in danger of extinction and is not likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future,” Ashe said.