Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides more information on a proposal to list two Missouri crayfishes as threatened under the Endangered Species Act

October 21, 2020

Contact(s):

Karen Herrington, Karen_Herrington@fws.gov, 573-234-2132 x166



We at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invite you to learn more about our recent proposal to list the Big River crayfish and the St. Francis River crayfish as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. An online presentation provides an explanation of why the species were proposed, how the crayfishes would be protected and more detailed information on where they occur.

Learn more about our proposal to list the Big River crayfish and St. Francis River crayfish.

The online presentation outlines our proposed rule published on September 17, 2020, in the Federal Register to list the Big Creek crayfish and the St. Francis River crayfish as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The two crustaceans are found within the St. Francis River watershed in southeastern Missouri. The public comment period on the proposed rule is open through November 16, 2020. The online presentation includes information on how to comment on the proposed rule.

The primary threat to the species is the woodland crayfish, a non-native invertebrate that was discovered within the St. Francis River tributary in 1984. The woodland crayfish has spread throughout a large portion of the upper St. Francis River, constricting the range of the Big Creek and St. Francis crayfishes and reducing their populations. Degraded water quality is also a threat the species.

The Service is proposing a special rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act, which would allow incidental (unintentional) take of the species under certain circumstances. The agency is also proposing critical habitat for the two species. Critical habitat is an area that contains habitat features that are essential for the survival and recovery of a listed species. A critical habitat designation imposes no requirements on state or private actions where no federal funding, permits or approvals are required.

Proposed critical habitat would include all streams occupied by the crayfishes. These streams include the Upper St. Francis River upstream of Wappapello Dam and tributaries in Iron, Madison, St. Francois, Washington, and Wayne counties, Missouri.

The proposed rule and supporting documents are available for comment online at https://www.regulations.gov under docket number FWS–R3–ES–2019–0020.

You may also submit comments by U.S. mail to:

Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R3–ES–2019–0020, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803

Following the comment period, the agency will evaluate all information before making a final listing determination. Learn more about endangered specie in the region.


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.

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