For Immediate Release
May 28, 1998

Contact: Diana M. Hawkins

STONE MOUNTAIN FAIRY SHRIMP NOT WARRANTED FOR LISTING
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE CONCLUDES

A petition to add the Stone Mountain fairy shrimp to the Federal list of threatened and endangered species is not warranted, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today. The Service’s Southeast Regional Director, Sam Hamilton, said that the decision reflects a 12-month study that documented changes to habitat from recreational and construction activities, but could not determine that these modifications pose a threat to the shrimp.

The fairy shrimp, a relative of the freshwater crayfish, has been found in the past on the summit of Stone Mountain, a large granite outcrop in the state park in DeKalb County near Atlanta. The last documented collection of fairy shrimp was in 1951. Extensive surveys were conducted in 1997 and failed to locate the species on Stone Mountain, which may mean it is extinct.

The fairy shrimp survives dry periods on Stone Mountain as a dormant, encapsulated embryo in temporary pools found in shallow rock depressions that periodically fill with rainwater. The pools also support other plants and animals, including two plants listed by the Federal and Georgia State governments, the black-spored quillwort and the little amphianthus.

The Stone Mountain Memorial Association, manager of the parkland that contains the shrimp’s vernal pool, has already fenced off a portion of the habitat to reduce human disturbance to the shrimp and other sensitive species that occupy the vernal pool habitat. The Friends of Georgia, the group that initially petitioned the Service to list the species, will complete a conservation agreement with the Association this year, which will emphasize continued surveying, public education and additional protection.

Hamilton said the Service review found no link between the survival of the fairy shrimp and construction activity planned near the species’ habitat, nor was there evidence that the shrimp is threatened by either disease or predation.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages more than 94 million acres of land and water consisting of 514 national wildlife refuges, 65 national fish hatcheries, 38 wetland management districts with waterfowl production areas, and 50 wildlife coordination areas.

The agency also enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat, such as wetlands, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.

The Service will continue to assess the fairy shrimp’s status as well as threats to its survival. Persons interested in submitting comments, data, and information should send them to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint Drive South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, Florida 32216.

X X X

Release #: R98-040


1998 News Releases

Go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region Home Page