Judge rules Golden-cheeked Warbler should stay on endangered species list

A bright-faced songbird of the Texas Hill Country still faces enough threat from population growth and land development in the San Antonio-Austin region to need shelter under the Endangered Species Act, a federal judge in Austin has ruled.

Senior U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks sided with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week in a case centered on the golden-cheeked warbler, a 3- to 5-inch migratory songbird that only nests in around 39 counties in Central Texas. The Texas General Land Office had sued the Service to get the bird taken off the endangered list.

The bird has long been a symbol in the environmental tug-of-war over growth in the Hill Country. Citing its continued loss of habitat to new subdivisions, businesses, roads, reservoirs, and other human activity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has continued to keep the golden-cheeked warbler on the endangered list since it was first placed there in 1990.

Read more from Brendan Gibbons with The Rivard Report here.