FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Vicki M. Boatwright or September 29, 1995 Diana M. Hawkins CAVE CRAYFISH DRAFT RECOVERY PLAN AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comment on a draft recovery plan for the endangered cave crayfish, Cambarus aculabrum. This unique, cave-dwelling crayfish is found only in two cave streams in Benton County, northwest Arkansas. The crayfish is white, has small eyes and grows to a length of approximately 2 inches.
According to the Service's Southeast Regional Director, Noreen K. Clough, population surveys conducted in the two cave streams that the crayfish is known to inhabit indicate that their numbers are few. During one survey, only six crayfish were seen; and on other occasions, none have been seen, Clough said.
Among the threats to this species are severe water contamination caused by sewage, animal waste, gasoline, and a number of other materials that lower oxygen concentrations in the water and suffocate cave crayfish. Cave crayfish rely upon dissolved oxygen in the water for respiration and, as such, are extremely sensitive to changes in water quality.
The Endangered Species Act defines an endangered species as in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, while a threatened species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.
The recovery plan's purpose is to outline actions needed to recover the cave crayfish to the point that it can be reclassified to the improved status of "threatened." Major tasks outlined in the plan include monitoring existing populations and protecting and managing surviving species. Further searches will be made for additional populations, and information will be compiled and provided to Federal and State agencies and members of the public to assist in continuing conservation efforts. The Service will collect written comments on the recovery plan from the public until November 30, 1995. Copies of the draft plan can be obtained from the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Suite A, Jackson, Mississippi 39213, Phone: (601) 965-4900.
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1995 News Releases