the Green River Hold the Key to the Survival of Endangered Ring Pink or
Other Rare Mussels?
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2004
Tom MacKenzie, FWS, (404) 679-7291, cell: (678) 296-6400
Lee Andrews, 502/229-4616 (cell phone) or 502/695-0468
Biologists will be sampling
the Green River near Munfordville, Kentucky, in hopes of finding
the critically endangered ring pink mussel. Only two ring pink individuals
have been found in the Green river within the last five years.
Media are invited to
spend some time on the river with the biologists, to interview participants
about the survey, and to take photographs. The biologists will be
collecting rare mussels from shallow water, identifying them, and
putting them in baskets. Media are also welcome to participate in
the mussel collection efforts. Most of the sampling site in the
Green River is anticipated to be very shallow, less than knee deep.
A $46,250 cooperative
agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kentucky
Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is funding the effort
to try and find enough ring pinks and other rare mussels to begin
a captive propagation program. Captive propagation efforts could
possibly prevent the extinction of the ring pink and aid in the
recovery of other mussels.
15, 2004, at 10:00 a.m. central time. Another opportunity for interviews
and information will begin at 1:30 p.m., for those who can't make
the morning session. If you are unable to attend the event on September
15, please contact Lee Andrews to reschedule.
Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the National Park
Service (Mammoth Cave National Park), the Army Corps of Engineers,
and the Nature Conservancy.
information and directions, please contact Lee Andrews, field supervisor
of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Frankfort, Kentucky Field
Office at 502/695-0468 (office) or 502/229-4616 (cell phone).
temperature in the river should be relatively warm so a pair of shorts
and old sneakers will be sufficient for wading throughout much of
the site. If you have waders or hip boots bring them, but we will
try to have an extra pair of waders or hip boots available if you
cannot supply your own.
The actual sampling site
is located on the Green River near Munfordville, Kentucky at a bend
in the river called Thomas Bend. Munfordville is located east of
Mammoth Cave National Park just to the east of Interstate 65.
From Interstate 65 at
Exit 65, take Highway 31W to downtown Munfordville (approx. 1.5
mile). Then from downtown Munfordville take road 357 northeast for
approximately 2 miles and turn right onto road 2185. Take road 2185
approximately 3 miles and turn right onto a gravel road that will
be marked by a sign indicating the ring pink sampling effort. Drive
to the end of this gravel road (approximately one-quarter mile)
and park in a pasture in the designated parking area. Wait at this
location for a 4-wheel drive vehicle to shuttle you to the site,
which is approximately one-half of a mile distant from the pasture
If you arrive late or
no one is at the pasture parking location to shuttle you to the
sampling site, follow posted instructions at the pasture parking
location, or call Lee Andrew's cell phone at 502-229-4616, or walk
to the site (follow vehicle tracks downhill to the river) for assistance.
We recommend you do not attempt to drive to the actual sampling
site except with a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
The biologists will be
collecting mussels, and if ring pink specimens are found, they will
be taken to a nearby mussel propagation facility, operated by the
Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, in Frankfort.
Ring pinks and other rare mussels will be captive bred and later
returned to the Green River or other suitable streams.
Once widespread in the
Ohio River and its larger tributaries (Pennsylvania, West Virginia,
Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama), the
ring pink is now onsidered functionally extinct in the wild. Extremely
small populations may possibly still exist in segments of the Tennessee
River, the Cumberland River near Hartsville, Tennessee, and the
Kamawha River in West Virginia. If specimens are found in the Green
River during the survey, captive propagation efforts may be the
key to the ring pink's survival.Tom R. MacKenzie - Chief, Media
Relations U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Southeast Region 404-679-7291
Fax:404-679-7286 Mobile: 678-296-6400