WASHINGTON (CN) – The Berry Cave Salamander can be found in just five caves in eastern Tennessee where it may face extinction from the build-up of silt released by development, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 90 day finding on a petition to list the salamander under the Endangered Species Act.
According to the petition, filed by Dr. John Nolt of the University of Tennessee – Knoxville, the construction of an interchange for the James White Parkway directly above the main complex of caves where the salamander is found would further threaten the population by disrupting the salamander’s food chain.
The petition also argues that run-off of from existing developments, including irrigation from a local golf course, stirs up excessive amounts of silt in the stream system that feeds the caves where the salamander is found.
The agency now will begin a comprehensive status review of the Berry Cave salamander for which the agency requests scientific and commercial data. At the conclusion of the status review the agency will issue a 12-month finding that will determine if listing under the act is warranted.