News Release
Southeast Region

 

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The Service is Soliciting Public Comment on the Draft Recovery Plan for Three Endangered Mollusks in the Mobile River Basin

July 3, 2013

Contacts:

 

An Interrupted Rocksnail

An Interrupted Rocksnail

 

A Rough Hornsnail

A Rough Hornsnail

 

A Georgia Pigtoe Mussel

A Georgia Pigtoe Mussel

Credit 3 photos: Tom Tarpley - Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

 

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comments on a draft recovery plan for three endangered mollusks that occur in the Mobile River Basin. The Interrupted Rocksnail, Rough Hornsnail, and Georgia Pigtoe mussels are only found in the Coosa River drainage within the Mobile River Basin of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.

The draft recovery plan lays out a strategy to recover these mussels and ensure sustainable, long-term, healthy populations.

“These three mollusks are ecological indicators of water quality because they need clean water to thrive,” said Cindy Dohner, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “This recovery plan and the actions identified in it will help us protect and recover these endangered species and improve the habitat we all depend on for clean water.”

These mussels were federally listed as endangered in 2010. All three mussels have disappeared from most of their historic ranges, primarily due to impoundments or the damming of river habitat. Primary threats to these three mussels include extreme curtailment of habitat and range, small population sizes, and their resulting vulnerability to natural or human induced catastrophic events, such as droughts or pollution. Surviving populations are threatened by water quality and habitat deterioration. All three mussels require flowing stable stream channels with minimal sediment and algae growth, and acceptable water quality. The Georgia pigtoe also requires a host fish, which is currently unknown.

Recovery objectives over the next decade include working to reduce threats in order to downlist the Interrupted Rocksnail and Rough Hornsnail to threatened status. Another objective is to prevent further decline of the Georgia pigtoe’s Conasauga River population and prevent extinction of the species. Downlisting of the Interrupted Rocksnail and Rough Hornsail will be considered when populations of each mussel are managed and protected in at least three locations: For the Interrupted Rocksnail, this includes an existing population in the Oostanaula River. For the Rough Hornsnail, it includes populations in Yellowleaf Creek and the Lower Coosa River. In addition, both mussel species must show population growth and natural reproduction at each of their population sites. This is usually measured by having multiple age groups present at a location and where recruitment rates exceed mortality rates for a period of five years or more. Habitat and population monitoring programs also must be established for the Interrupted Rocksnail and Rough Hornsnail. Requirements for the recovery of the Georgia Pigtoe will be determined as more is learned about the species.

The notice announcing the availability of the Technical/Agency Draft Recovery Plan for the Interrupted Rocksnail, Rough Hornsnail, and Georgia Pigtoe publishes in the Federal Register on July 3, 2013, beginning a 60-day public comment period from July 3, 2013, to September 3, 2013. All relevant information received from the public, government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties will be considered.

To review the draft recovery plan, please contact Jeff Powell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alabama Field Office, 1208-B Main Street, Daphne, AL 36526; telephone. (251) 441–5858; or by visiting the Service’s Alabama Field Office website at http://www.fws.gov/daphne.

Comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

  1. Submit written comments and materials to Jeff Powell, at the above address or call (251) 441-5858.
  2. Hand-deliver written comments to our Alabama Field Office, at the above address, or fax them to (251) 441–6222.
  3. Send comments by e-mail to alabama@fws.gov. Please include "Three Snail Recovery Plan Comments" on the subject line.

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. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/southeast.  Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws, and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.

 

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Last updated: July 3, 2013