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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Missouri Mussel Meetings Held

Region 3, July 19, 2013
Rabbitsfoot Mussel
Rabbitsfoot Mussel - Photo Credit: n/a
Neosho Mucket Mussel
Neosho Mucket Mussel - Photo Credit: n/a

The Neosho mucket and Rabbitsfoot mussels are both currently proposed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. As part of the listing process, a draft economic analysis of designated critical habitat and an environmental assessment have been proposed and require an opportunity for public comment. On May 8th, 2013 the 30-day public comment period was re-opened.

Our primary intent was to provide two meetings nearest the proposed designated critical habitat during this comment period to educate the public about the species, their threats, the listing process, critical habitat proposed and address any questions and concerns and finally direct them to submit any comments. The first meeting was held on May 21st at the Wildcat Glade Audubon Center in Joplin, Missouri. The second was held on May 23rd at the Greenville School District facilities in Greenville, Missouri.

Despite many media releases and information dissemination outlets, the meetings had a low attendance. Our primary guest speaker in Joplin was Dr. Chris Barnhart of Missouri State University. Dr. Barnhart provided a superb life-history presentation and submitted information specific to each species as he has extensive experience studying mussel life history. The Missouri Department of Conservation, a primary partner, also provided great staff support in each venue with officials of various disciplines including law enforcement, fisheries, and private lands. We also had visitors from the Neosho National Fish Hatchery and our Region 6 counterparts from the Kansas Field Office and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and Tourism’s Mussel Biologist. Those from the public that were present did engage well and asked many good questions.
Our office is very proud to have provided these meetings in an attempt and as an opportunity to better educate the public about our responsibilities and our shared resources.

Contact Info: Bryan Simmons, 417-836-5302, Bryan_simmons@Fws.gov