U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Availability of Five-year Status Review for 11 Mobile River Basin Mussels
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2009
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the availability of its five-year status review of 11 Mobile River Basin mussels, occurring in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Five-year reviews are conducted to ensure that a listing classification under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is accurate. This five-year review summarizes all available scientific and commercial information for these 11 mussels since they were protected under the ESA in 1993 and provides recommendations reflecting the current status of each species.
The 11 mussel species include the fine‑lined pocketbook, orange-nacre mucket, and Alabama moccasinshell listed as threatened; plus the Coosa moccasinshell, southern clubshell, dark pigtoe, southern pigtoe, ovate clubshell, triangular kidneyshell, upland combshell, and southern acornshell, all listed as endangered.
The mussels’ five-year review recommends the status of the Coosa moccasinshell and dark pigtoe as endangered remain unchanged. In addition, although the review documents show some improvement in the status of the fine‑lined pocketbook, orange-nacre mucket, Alabama moccasinshell, southern clubshell, southern pigtoe, ovate clubshell, and triangular kidneyshell, threats to these species still remain, and no change in their classification is recommended.
The five-year review recommendation for the upland combshell and southern acornshell is to remove them from the List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife due to presumed extinction. Historically, the southern acornshell occurred in the Mobile River Basin’s upper Coosa River system and the Cahaba River above the fall line in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Removal from the list requires a formal rule-making process, including public review and comment.
The most recent records for the southern acornshell were from tributaries of the Coosa River in the early 1970s, and the Cahaba River in the 1930s. The historical range of the upland combshell included portions of the Black Warrior, Cahaba, and Coosa rivers of the Mobile River Basin and some of their tributaries in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. The most recent records for the upland combshell were from the Conasauga River, Georgia, in 1988, and from the Cahaba River, Alabama, in the early 1970s.
At the time these species were protected under the ESA in 1993, it was the consensus of the scientific community that they persisted in low numbers in the upper Coosa River drainage and possibly in the Cahaba River. Despite repeated surveys of stream habitats in the Coosa and Cahaba River drainages, as well as other drainages of historical occurrence, no living animals or fresh or weathered shells of these species have been located since they were protected under the ESA, and both species are presumed to be extinct.
A copy of the five-year-review can be obtained by contacting Connie Dickard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Jackson, MS 39213.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.