Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
Service Announces Six-Month Deadline Extension for the Final Listing Determination for the Texas Hornshell
Agency seeks additional information from public and scientific community

August 9, 2017

Contact(s):

Lesli Gray, (TX), 972-439- 4542, lesli_gray@fws.gov
Jeff Humphrey, (NM), 602-889-5946, jeff_humphrey@fws.gov


Texas hornshell. Credit: Joel Lusk, NMESFO, USFWS.

Texas hornshell. Credit: Joel Lusk, NMESFO, USFWS.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a six-month extension to its deadline for
making a final determination on whether to list the Texas hornshell under the Endangered Species
Act (ESA). The Service is taking this action on its 2016 proposal to list this freshwater mussel in
order to solicit additional scientific information on the status of the species in Mexico. Accordingly,
the Service is reopening the public comment period on the proposed rule for 30 days. We will make
a final listing determination no later than February 10, 2018.

On July 7, 2017, the Service announced the availability of a draft Candidate Conservation
Agreement (CCA), draft Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) and draft
environmental assessment for the Texas hornshell and four other aquatic species that are found in
west Texas and southeastern New Mexico. If the Service finalizes the CCA and CCAA, landowners
and industry could sign up under these agreements during the six month deadline extension to the
listing determination.

Once abundant throughout rivers in the Rio Grande basin in southern New Mexico, Texas, and
Mexico and in rivers on the Mexican Gulf Coast, the Texas hornshell has experienced a dramatic
decline. Today, it is the only native mussel remaining in New Mexico and is scarce in Texas,
occupying only 15% of its historical U.S. range. River fragmentation and loss as a result of
impoundments and reduced water quality and quantity are negatively impacting the Texas hornshell
and other freshwater mussels across the Southwest. After thoroughly reviewing the best available
science, on August 10, 2016, the Service proposed protecting the mussel as endangered under the
ESA.

The Service encourages the public to review and provide comments on the listing proposal during
the 30-day public comment period. Written comments must be received by close of business on
September 11, 2017. Written comments may be submitted by one of the following methods:

(1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In
the Search box, enter FWS–R2–ES–2016–0077. You may submit a comment by clicking on
“Comment Now!”

(2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing,
Attn: FWS–R2–ES–2016–0077; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC,
5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803.

The Service asks that the public not resubmit previously submitted comments or information on the
proposed rule. The Service has already incorporated them into the public record, and will fully
consider them in the preparation of the final determination. The Service will consider all additional
information, comments and recommendations received from all interested parties with the intention
that any final action resulting from this proposal be as accurate as possible and based on the best
available scientific and commercial data.

America’s fish, wildlife, and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled
species is a shared responsibility. We’re working to actively engage conservation partners and the
public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works 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 http://www.fws.gov/. Connect
with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from
our Flickr page.

-FWS-


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 www.fws.gov.

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit http://www.fws.gov/. Connect with our Facebook page, follow our tweets, watch our YouTube Channel and download photos from our Flickr page.