Peer Review of Scientific Information
Southeast Region
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Proposed Endangered Status for the Altamaha Spinymussel (Elliptio spinosa)

About the Document

Title: Proposed Endangered Status for the Altamaha Spinymussel (Elliptio spinosa)

The Service proposes to list the Altamaha spinymussel (Elliptio spinosa) as an endangered species.  The Altamaha spinymussel is a State endangered species and has been a candidate for listing since 2001, with a listing priority number of 2.  Endemic to the Altamaha Basin in Georgia, E. spinosa has experienced severe declines in abundance, recruitment and distribution over the last several decades.  The Altamaha spinymussel is a distinct taxonomic entity qualifying for protection as a species under the Endangered Species Act.  This action is not petitioned or under court order, but was included in a lawsuit filed by the Center for Biological Diversity regarding candidate species; the settlement is pending.

Type of Review
:  Influential

Timeline of the Peer Review (Estimated Dates): 

     Draft document disseminated:  Fall 2010
     Peer review initiated: Fall 2010
     Peer review completed by: Winter 2010
     Date Document will be finalized: Fall 2011

About the Peer Review Process:

The Service sent preliminary requests for participation in the peer review process of this rule to three independent scientific reviewers.  These reviewers were selected by the Service for their recognized expertise and experience in aquatic ecology, mussels, toxicology, and the Altamaha River Basin.  Four of those five reviewers, representing both the private sector and academia, have agreed to participate in the review process: 

Reviewer 1. 
Jason Wisniewski
Aquatic Zoologist
GA Dept. Natural Resources
Nongame Conservation

Reviewer 2. 
Arthur E. Bogan, Ph.D.
Research Curator of Aquatic Invertebrates
North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences

Reviewer 3. 
Robert Bringolf, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources
The Service will solicit written comments, through formal requests for peer review, during the public comment period for the proposed action.  The Service will use the information received from the peer review, as appropriate, to develop the final listing rule for the Altamaha spinymussel.  All peer reviews and comments will be public documents. The Service will use the information received from the peer review, as appropriate, to develop the final listing rule for the Altamaha spinymussel.

About Public Participation:

Public comments on the spinymussel proposed listing rule will be sought upon publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register and the distribution by mail and press release of this announcement to interested parties.  The comment period will be open for 60 days.  This peer review plan is made available on this website to allow the public to monitor our compliance with the Office of Management and Budget’s “Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review.”


Jimmy Rickard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 105 Westpark Dr., Suite D, Athens, GA 30606; telephone 706-613-9493x223; facsimile 706-613-6059.



Last updated: October 25, 2010