Newsroom Midwest Region

News Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
May 17, 2013

Georgia Parham 812-334-4261 x 1203

Bryan Simmons 417-836-5302

Public Meetings in Joplin and Greenville Will Focus on Estimated Economic Impacts of Critical Habitat Proposal for Two Freshwater Mussels

Rabbitsfoot mussel. Photo by Georgia Parham/USFWS.
Rabbitsfoot mussel. Photo by Georgia Parham/USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is hosting two public meetings in Joplin and Greenville to provide details and answer questions about a proposal to list two freshwater mussels – the rabbitsfoot and the Neosho mucket – as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and to designate critical habitat.

The first meeting will occur on May 21 in Joplin, Missouri, from 6 pm to 9 pm local time at the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center.  Service representatives will talk about both mussel species, including life history, threats to the species, critical habitat and the process to list them as endangered, as well as address questions and concerns. 

The second meeting will be held on May 23 in Greenville, Missouri, at the Greenville School District facilities from 6 pm to 9 pm local time.  The Greenville meeting will include the above information, but will focus on the rabbitsfoot mussel found locally. 

The Service has opened the public comment period on the estimated economic impacts and draft environmental assessment of the proposed critical habitat designation of the two freshwater mussels.  The Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot mussels were proposed for listing in 2012 under the Endangered Species Act. The Service also proposed to designate critical habitat for these two mussels in 12 states, including portions of five streams in Missouri. 

Critical habitat refers to specific geographic areas that are essential to the conservation of a threatened or endangered species.  The critical habitat designation will help ensure that federal agencies and the public are aware of the mussels' habitat needs and proper consultation is conducted by federal agencies when required by law.  A critical habitat designation does not set up a preserve or refuge and only applies to situations where federal funding or a federal permit is involved. It does not allow government or public access to private land. Federal agencies that undertake, fund, or permit activities that may affect critical habitat are required to consult with the Service to ensure such actions do not adversely modify or destroy designated critical habitat.

The draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment are available at, Docket # FWS–R4–ES–2013–0007, or on the Service's website at  

The public comment period will be open for 30 days.  The public may mail comments and materials concerning this draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment or any aspect of the proposed rule to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R4–ES–2012–0031; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 North Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.  Comments also can be filed electronically at

All comments must be received by June 10, 2013, and must include a first and last name, city, state, country and zip code.  Any comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on, or by appointment during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Ecological Services, 110 South Amity Road, Suite 300, Conway, AR, 72032; by telephone 501-513-4475.

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. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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