Protect Threatened Salamanders


Target: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy

Goal: Ban the use of herbicides and pesticides within close proximity to salamander habitat

Salamanders are one of the oldest species of amphibian to live on the planet. They have survived many ice ages, volcanic upheaval, and other natural threats. But today half of the word’s salamander species have become threatened with extinction. The primary dangers to these creatures come from human hands, not the least of which is our irresponsible use of chemicals like herbicides and pesticides, which are introduced to the environment without a thought for the deleterious effects on wildlife.

Being an amphibious creature that breeds in water, the salamander’s skin must stay wet throughout its life, which leaves it vulnerable to chemicals it can absorb through its skin. While its habitat often is removed somewhat from areas where herbicides and pesticides are used, this is not always the case. One of the most commonly used herbicides is Atrazine, and as with any herbicide, if its use is on land where runoff contaminates salamander habitat, entire local populations can be decimated.

Salamanders deserve protection from having their lives taken by the callous use of harmful chemicals which could be replaced by organic substitutes. While that might be an extra expense, surely the EPA could warrant a measure designed to protect a threatened species. It would be a shame if future generations of children no longer have the thrill of turning over a stone in the forest to see a salamander scurry away.

A species that has existed for over 160 million years represents a basic cornerstone of our own evolution, and if, for the sake of a few dollars, we don’t care enough to safeguard its place among the community of life on this planet, then surely we must be prepared for our own specie to one day also become threatened.


Dear EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy,

By banning the use of herbicides and pesticides near salamander habitat, the EPA can increase the chances of survival for threatened salamander populations. Salamanders may not claim a visible role in human life, but the unthinking contamination of their home is an unmistakable blemish on mankind’s stewardship of the planet.

Please help to restore our self respect as a species by working to implement regulations that prohibit the use of herbicides and pesticides in close proximity to salamander habitat.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Steffen Hauser via Wikimedia Commons

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