Pennsylvania Field Office News
Fish and Wildlife Service Designates Critical Habitat for Two Freshwater Mussels in 12 States
Neosho mucket uses a minnow lure to
attract a host fish (bass) for its larvae.
Credit: Chris Barnhart/Missouri State University
April 29, 2015: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has finalized critical habitat designations for the Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot mussels in rivers of 12 states under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
The final designations are smaller than those proposed nearly three years ago, and include a significant change to what the Service proposed in Arkansas for the rabbitsfoot, reducing the designation there by 27 percent. The final critical habitat designations in Arkansas affect less than two percent of the state’s total perennial stream miles as defined by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.
The Service altered the critical habitat designations after receiving new relevant information from a number of people and organizations including the Association of Arkansas Counties. The final designations result in a net reduction of about two river miles for Neosho mucket and 217 river miles for rabbitsfoot. Both species of freshwater mussels are found in river systems in the eastern half of the United States and are indicators of clean water and healthy rivers. Today’s decision finalizes a proposal released in 2012 and includes the final economic analysis associated with the critical habitat designations.
Read the full release
Range-wide Indiana Bat Summer Survey Guidelines have been updated for 2015
Healthy Indiana bat
April 3, 2015 In 2011, the USFWS developed a multi-agency team to determine whether improvements could be made to the 2007 Indiana Bat Mist-Net Protocols. The team included members of the four USFWS regions (Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest) where Indiana bats are known to occur, representatives of state natural resource agencies from three of those four regions (Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast), and representatives from three federal agencies (U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Department of Defense, and U.S. Forest Service). We obtained informal peer review of the draft guidelines in February 2012, gathered additional information in 2012, and made a revised version available for public comment in 2013 [78 FR 1879, January 9, 2013, and 78 FR 9409, February 8, 2013]. The USFWS implemented revised guidance in 2014. The USGS conducted independent testing of automated acoustic software programs during the winter of 2014-15 and the USFWS made some additional revisions to the guidelines in 2015.
The objectives of Indiana bat summer survey guidelines are to (1) standardize range-wide survey procedures; (2) maximize the potential for detection/capture of Indiana bats at a minimum acceptable level of effort;(3) make accurate presence/absence determinations; and (4) aid in conservation efforts for the species by identifying areas where the species is present.
2015 Indiana Bat Summer Survey Guidelines (PDF)