Pennsylvania Field Office News
Service estimates economic impacts of critical habitat designation for rabbitsfoot mussel
May 8, 2013
Rabbitsfoot Mussel. Credit: Dick Biggins/USFWS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has analyzed the economic impacts of designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act for the rabbitsfoot freshwater mussel in Pennsylvania and 11 other states. The agency invites public comment on the draft economic analysis, which shows that across all 12 states, administrative costs to federal and state agencies could be $4.4 to $5.9 million over a span of 20 years; some of that cost may be incurred by local governments and businesses. In 2012, the Service identified just over 120 river miles in Crawford, Erie, Mercer and Venango counties in Pennsylvania as essential to the conservation of the rabbitsfoot mussel. The designation of critical habitat will help ensure that federal agencies and the public are aware of the mussels' habitat needs and proper consultation is conducted by federal agencies when required by law. A critical habitat designation does not set up a preserve or refuge and only applies to situations where federal funding or a federal permit is involved.
2012 press release
Critical habitat proposal, economic analysis
Review will find if cave-dwelling invertebrate needs federal protection
The Heller Cave springtail, a small cave-dwelling invertebrate known only from one Pennsylvania cave, may need protection under federal law as a threatened or endangered animal. This announcement, called a 90-day petition finding, is the first step in the Service's scientific process to determine whether the springtail warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Service was petitioned in October 2011 by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Juniata Valley Audubon Society to list it under the ESA. For the next step, the Service seeks biological information on the springtail. Information will be used in an extensive status review that will determine whether the Service will propose extending ESA protection to the Heller Cave springtail.
$600,000 grant will support conservation planning for Penn. state agencies
Credit: Ann Froschauer/USFWS
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced August 14, 2012, a grant to support conservation planning in Pennsylvania. The grant will support state agencies' efforts to address forest land management activities on state lands to benefit the Indiana bats and other bats. Awarded through the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund, the grants are part of $33 million to fund projects in 21 states benefiting numerous species, from the Peninsular bighorn sheep to Kirtland's warbler.
More (News release)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes endangered species protection for two freshwater mussels
The Service has proposed Endangered Species Act protection for the sheepnose and the spectaclecase, two freshwater mussels found in river systems in the eastern U.S. These mussels occupy less than half the number of streams where they once occurred. Threats include loss and degradation of habitat due to impoundments, channelization, chemical contaminants, mining and sedimentation. The decline of freshwater mussels often signals a decline in the water quality of their habitat.
Learn more about the spectaclecase and the sheepnose.