U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Receives Corps' Biological Assessment for ACF Water Management
Late yesterday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a Biological Assessment which addresses water flows and protection of threatened and endangered species in the Apalachicola River.
The assessment is part of the Corps’ Exceptional Drought Operation (EDO) for the Apalachicola-Chattachoochee-Flint (ACF) river basin. The Corps is proposing to modify their current Interim Operations Plan (IOP) for the ACF and adopt the water management strategies outlined in the EDO. The EDO calls for reduced flows into the Apalachicola River, where the endangered Gulf sturgeon, endangered fat endangered mussel and the threatened purple bankclimber mussel are found.
Under the Endangered Species Act, the Service will review the assessment and provide a biological opinion as to whether the Corps’ proposed operations will jeopardize the future existence of the listed species involved. To understand the ecological impact of the Corps’ proposal and ensure the scientific integrity of this opinion, the Service is analyzing new mussel data which represents the best available scientific information.
Because of the urgency of the drought, the Service has committed to complete data analysis and write this scientifically-based biological opinion by November 15, or within 14 days. Under less urgent circumstances, this process would take up to 135 days.
To read the Biological Assessment received from the Corps, visit http://www.fws.gov/southeast.
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. Please see the Service’s websites at http://www.fws.gov/southeast or http://www.fws.gov
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