[Federal Register: October 1, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 190)]
[Page 56647-56648]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of the Recovery Plan for the Endangered Fat 
Threeridge (Amblema neislerii), Shinyrayed Pocketbook (Lampsilis 
subangulata), Gulf Moccasinshell (Medionidus penicillatus), Ochlockonee 
Moccasinshell (Medionidus simpsonianus), Oval Pigtoe (Pleurobema 
pyriforme) and the Threatened Chipola Slabshell (Elliptio 
chipolaensis), and Purple Bankclimber (Elliptoideus sloatianus)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the final recovery plan for seven freshwater mussels--
the endangered fat threeridge (Amblema neislerii), shinyrayed 
pocketbook (Lampsilis subangulata), Gulf moccasinshell (Medionidus 
penicillatus), Ochlockonee moccasinshell (Medionidus simpsonianus), 
oval pigtoe (Pleurobema pyriforme) and the threatened Chipola slabshell 
(Elliptio chipolaensis), and purple bankclimber (Elliptoideus 
sloatianus). These species are endemic to several river basins 
(Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint, Ochlockonee, Suwannee, and Econfina 
Creek) in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The recovery plan includes 
specific recovery objectives and criteria to be met in order to 
downlist these mussels to threatened status or delist them under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.

ADDRESSES: Copies of this recovery plan are available by request from 
Jerry Ziewitz, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Panama City Field 
Office, 1601 Balboa Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32405 (Telephone 850/
769-0552, Ext. 223). Recovery plans approved by the Service are also 
available on the Internet at: http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/Index.html#plans
, or may also be obtained from the Fish and Wildlife 
Reference Service, 5430 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 110, Bethesda, Maryland, 
20814 (Telephone (301) 492-6403 or (800) 582-3421). The fee for the 
plan varies depending on the number of pages in the plan.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jerry Ziewitz, at the address and 
telephone number given above.



    Restoring endangered or threatened animals or plants to the point 
where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their ecosystem 
is a primary goal of our endangered species program. To help guide the 
recovery effort, we are working to prepare recovery plans for most of 
the listed species native to the United States. Recovery plans describe 
actions considered necessary for the conservation of the species, 
establish criteria for downlisting or delisting them, and estimate time 
and cost for implementing necessary recovery measures.
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) (Act) requires the development of recovery plans for listed 
species unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a 
particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide a 
public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment during 
recovery plan development. We developed a technical/agency draft of 
this recovery plan and released it for public review on September 16, 
1999 (64 FR 50301). We made substantial revisions to the 1999 draft 
based on comments received and recently obtained biological 
information. Because of this, we provided an additional opportunity for 
stakeholders to comment by issuing an updated draft plan. We published 
a notice of availability of the agency draft recovery plan for these 
seven mussels in the Federal Register on July 17, 2003 (68 FR 42419). A 
public comment period was opened with the notice, closing on August 18, 
2003. Comments and information submitted by peer reviewers and other 
interested parties have been considered in preparation of the final 
recovery plan and, where appropriate, incorporated. We and other 
Federal agencies will take these comments into account in the course of 
implementing approved recovery plans.
    We listed these seven mussels, five as endangered and two as 
threatened species under the Act, on March 16, 1998 (63 FR 12664). The 
seven freshwater mussels are restricted to a few river basins 
(Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint, Ochlockonee, Suwannee, and Econfina 
Creek) in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. They were once distributed 
across hundreds of stream miles in these basins and now survive in a 
few relatively small, isolated populations scattered throughout their 
former range.
    Habitat alteration, including impoundments, channelization, gravel 
mining, contaminants, sedimentation,

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and stream-flow depletion, is likely the principal cause of these 
species' decline in range and abundance. Genetic factors associated 
with increasingly small and isolated populations and the introduction 
of alien species may present additional obstacles to their recovery.
    The objective of this recovery plan is to provide a framework for 
the recovery of these seven species so that protection under the Act is 
no longer necessary. As recovery criteria are met, the status of the 
seven species will be reviewed and they will be considered for 
reclassification to threatened status or for removal from the Federal 
List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (50 CFR part 17).

    Authority: The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the 
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533 (f).

    Dated: September 5, 2003.
Noreen Walsh,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 03-24838 Filed 9-30-03; 8:45 am]