In December 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) proposed listing the dunes sagebrush lizard (DSL) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This lizard is less than three inches long and is native to shinnery oak dunes in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Its Texas habitat lies in the middle of one of the nation's most productive oil and gas regions — the Permian Basin.
In 2011-2012, the Texas Comptroller's office facilitated a stakeholder process to develop the Texas Conservation Plan (TCP) for the DSL. FWS approved the TCP in February 2012. The Comptroller’s office currently serves as the permit holder for the TCP, overseeing the plan’s implementation and compliance monitoring.
Beginning in 2015, the Comptroller’s office and FWS began to encounter issues affecting the TCP. After several years of implementing the TCP and resolving many of the issues, the Comptroller’s office in fall 2017, with input from FWS, determined that a new plan was warranted to replace the existing TCP. The Comptroller’s office then initiated a collaborative process with input from FWS, current participants in the TCP and the oil and gas sector to develop a new draft Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA).
On June 1, 2018, groups petitioned the federal government to list the DSL as a threatened or endangered species and to designate critical habitat concurrent with the listing. FWS is currently reviewing the petition to make a 90-day finding.
On February 15, 2019, the Comptroller’s office submitted the final CCAA to FWS. The application for the Enhancement of Survival Permit was submitted on August 3, 2018. FWS will review the new plan through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process. The Comptroller’s office expects the CCAA to receive final approval by spring 2019.