Texas Comptroller Susan Combs on Thursday announced plans to provide $5 million for research on three species that could potentially be listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as endangered or threatened.
She will solicit research proposals from all Texas public universities before awarding the funding.
Based on recommendations of a science working group, the first species selected for research are: freshwater mussels (12 mussels total); the spot-tailed earless lizard; and the desert massasauga (a snake).
"I worked hard to get the funding since gathering accurate scientific data and providing it to the federal listing agencies is one of the best ways to deal with the increasing number of species under review in Texas that can greatly impact our economy," Combs said in a news release. "This process further ensures the best science is available when the federal government is determining if a species should be listed and raises the standard for data used in listing decisions."
Species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act could restrict the use of land and water, impact local and regional economies, decrease property values and add regulatory hurdles and costs to the process, Combs said.
More than 120 species in Texas are subject to review under the Endangered Species Act, which requires listing decisions be based on the "best scientific and commercial data available."