Santa Fe forest ordered to consider impacts on salamander
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge is ordering the Santa Fe National Forest to consider how the management of roads and trails across the northern New Mexico forest will affect an endangered salamander.
U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez in a ruling made public Wednesday upheld an earlier decision in which a magistrate judge rejected arguments from the U.S. Forest Service that it was not obligated to consider the effects of travel management on the Jemez Mountain salamander.
Environmentalists applauded the decision, saying the federal agency has the power to take action to protect the species.
The salamander breathes through its skin and spends much of its life underground. Environmentalists say the integrity of its underground habitat is vital to its survival and that the compaction of soil from vehicles is a concern.