January 13, 2004
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced reopening of the comment period for the proposed designation of critical habitat for 11 endangered or threatened freshwater mussels in the Mobile River Basin. The 11 mussel species with proposed critical habitat are the threatened fine-lined pocketbook, orange-nacre mucket and Alabama moccasinshell plus the endangered Coosa moccasinshell, ovate clubshell, southern clubshell, dark pigtoe, southern pigtoe, triangular kidneyshell, upland combshell and southern acornshell.
The Service proposed critical habitat for the 11 mussels on March 26, 2003, and is seeking public input on the draft economic analysis and the proposed critical habitat designation until January 23, 2004.
The Endangered Species Act requires the Service to consider potential economic impacts of a critical habitat designation when determining whether or not to designate critical habitat. If the benefits of excluding an area outweigh the benefits of including it, the Service may exclude an area from critical habitat, unless the exclusion would result in the extinction of the species.
Critical habitat refers to specific geographic areas that are essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and that may require special management and protection. A critical habitat designation does not establish a preserve or refuge nor does it affect individual citizens, organizations, states, local governments, or other non-federal entities that do not require federal permits or funding.
Proposed critical habitat for the 11 mussels encompasses about 1,100 miles of river and stream channels in the following areas:
Copies of the proposed designation of critical habitat for the 11 mussels or the associated draft economic analysis of critical habitat designation can be obtained by visiting our website: http://southeast.fws.gov/hotissues/ or by contacting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Suite A, Jackson, MS 39213; phone 601-965-4900.
The Service will consider comments and information on the critical habitat proposal and draft economic analysis received by January 23, 2004. Written comments and information should be mailed, faxed, or delivered in person to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attn: Paul Hartfield, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Suite A, Jackson, MS 39213; Fax: 601-965-4043, or sent by electronic mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted and will be fully considered in the final determination of the proposal.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving,
protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats
for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages
the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses
542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other
special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries,
64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations.
The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered
Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally
significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such
as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.
It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of
millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment
to state fish and wildlife agencies. Visit the Service’s website
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.
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