U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Availability of Five-year Status Review for Five Tombigbee River Mussels
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2009
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today the availability of its five-year status review for five Tombigbee River mussels occurring in Alabama and Mississippi. The five mussel species are the stirrupshell mussel, flat pigtoe, heavy pigtoe, black clubshell and southern combshell and all are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
A five-year review is conducted to ensure that a listing classification under ESA is accurate. The review summarizes all scientific and commercial information that has become available since the five species were protected under ESA in 1987. The five-year review is an internal staff analysis which makes a recommendation on the classification of the species but does not change its current federal status. Reclassifying a species requires a formal administrative process.
The five-year review recommendation for the stirrupshell and flat pigtoe is to remove them from the List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife due to presumed extinction.
The historical range of the stirrupshell included the Tombigbee River in Mississippi and Alabama, the Alabama River in Alabama, and a few of the rivers’ tributaries. The most recent record for the stirrupshell was in 1984 from the Sipsey River in Greene and Pickens County, Alabama.
Historically, the flat pigtoe occurred in the Tombigbee River in Alabama and Mississippi. The most recent records for the flat pigtoe were in 1980 from the Tombigbee River in Lowndes County, Mississippi.
Despite repeated surveys of historical sites of occurrence and other stream habitats in the Tombigbee and Alabama River drainages, no living animals or fresh shells of the stirrupshell or the flat pigtoe have been located. Both species are presumed to be extinct.
The five-year review also recommends that the status of the heavy pigtoe, black clubshell, and southern combshell as endangered should remain unchanged.
The heavy pigtoe is known to survive at a single location in the Alabama River in Dallas County, Alabama. The black clubshell is believed to survive in a short reach of the East Fork of the Tombigbee River in Itawamba County, Mississippi, although no evidence of the species has been encountered since 1997. The southern combshell continues to persist in the Buttahatchee River in Lowndes and Monroe counties, Mississippi.
A copy of the mussels’ five-year-review is available at: http://www.fws.gov/southeast/5yearReviews/5yearreviews/index.html or you can get a copy 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.