Sand mines destroying Dunes Sagebrush Lizard habitat

Sand mines destroying Dunes Sagebrush Lizard habitat

Abstract

Sand mines can be even more disruptive than oil and gas development, removing very large swaths of habitat. In West Texas, they have appeared suddenly and can expand quickly. In August 2017, we used satellite images to detect nine sand mining operations in or adjacent to lizard habitat in Texas. These operations provide sand for hydraulic fracking in the region. Neither FWS nor the comptroller anticipated this threat in 2012, so it was never addressed in the Texas plan nor in the decision to decline listing the lizard. According to our satellite image analysis, the mines have already disturbed 292 acres of lizard habitat and surrounding buffers. Based on lease data, the mines could eventually disturb or destroy over 23,000 acres (9.5 percent) of the lizard’s habitat and buffer in Texas.To see monthly images of the sand mines to date, follow the link to the interactive story map.

Type
Publication
Sand Mine Impacts on Dunes Sagebrush Lizard Habitat in West Texas
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Matthew Moskwik
Previous Conservation GIS Scientist

As the previous Conservation GIS Scientist in the Center for Conservation Innovation, Matthew provided mapping and spatial analysis services and support throughout Defenders.