[Federal Register: July 14, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 134)]
[Page 42198-42199]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Approved Recovery Plan for the Higgins Eye Pearlymussel 
(Lampsilis higginsii).

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability of the approved recovery plan for the Higgins eye 
pearlymussel (Lampsilis higginsii). This species is federally listed as 
endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); it occurs in the Mississippi River and 
tributaries to the Mississippi River in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, 
Missouri, and Wisconsin.
    Actions needed for recovery of the Higgins eye pearlymussel include 
alleviating threats posed by exotic species, especially zebra mussels 
(Dreissena polymorpha), protecting remaining populations, and 
reintroducing the species into habitats that it historically occupied.

ADDRESSES: This recovery plan is available from the following 
    1. Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Twin Cities 
Field Office, 4101 East 80th Street, Bloomington, MN 55425.
    2. The World Wide Web at: http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Phil Delphey, Twin Cities Field 
Office, (see ADDRESSES section No. 1 above), telephone (612) 725-3548 
ext. 206. TTY users may contact Mr. Delphey through

[[Page 42199]]

the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals or plants is a primary 
goal of the Service's endangered species program. A species is 
considered recovered when its status has been improved to the point at 
which listing is no longer appropriate under the criteria set out in 
section 4(a)(1) of the Act. Recovery plans describe actions considered 
necessary for the conservation of the species, establish criteria for 
delisting species, and provide estimates of the time and cost for 
implementing the measures needed for recovery.
    The 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, as amended in 1988, 
requires that public notice and the opportunity for public review and 
comment be provided during recovery plan development. Information 
presented during the comment period has been considered in the 
preparation of the approved recovery plan and is summarized in an 
appendix to the recovery plan. We will forward substantive comments 
regarding recovery plan implementation to appropriate Federal agencies 
and other entities so that they can take these comments into account 
during the course of implementing recovery actions.
    Higgins eye pearlymussel is a large river species occupying stable 
substrates that vary from sand to boulders; it does not occur in firmly 
packed clay, flocculent silt, organic material, bedrock, concrete or 
unstable sand. Water velocities should be less than 1 m/s during 
periods of low discharge. The species is usually found in mussel beds 
that contain at least 15 other species. The density of all mussels in 
the bed typically exceeds 10/m2. Although zebra mussels are 
currently the most important threat to L. higginsii, construction 
activities and environmental contaminants may also pose significant 
threats. This revised plan includes ten Essential Habitat Areas: six in 
the Mississippi River between river miles 489 and 656; one in the 
Wisconsin River; and three in the St. Croix River, which empties into 
the Mississippi River at river mile 811, just downstream of 
Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Higgins eye also occurs elsewhere in 
the Mississippi River and recently has been reintroduced into several 
tributaries of the Mississippi River in which it historically occurred. 
This revised plan recommends that surveys be conducted in several 
specific areas to better describe other potentially important habitats.
    The objective of the recovery plan is to provide a framework for 
the recovery of Higgins eye pearlymussel so that protection by the Act 
is no longer necessary. Higgins eye may be considered for 
reclassification from Endangered to Threatened when the following 
occurs: (1) At least five identified Essential Habitat Areas contain 
reproducing, self-sustaining populations of L. higginsii that are not 
threatened by zebra mussels; (2) a freshwater mussel toxicity database 
is completed, and specific sediment and water quality parameters in 
Essential Habitat Areas and reestablishment areas have been 
characterized; and (3) harvest of freshwater mussels is prohibited by 
law or regulation in Essential Habitat Areas.
    Recovery will be achieved and the species removed from the list of 
Threatened and Endangered Wildlife (50 CFR part 17) when the following 
criteria are met: (1) Populations in at least five Essential Habitat 
Areas are reproducing, self-sustaining, not threatened by zebra 
mussels, and are sufficiently secure to assure long-term viability of 
the species; (2) zebra mussels are not present in locations where they 
or their offspring are likely to adversely affect L. higginsii 
populations in any of the five identified Essential Habitat Areas; (3) 
the use of double hull barges or other actions have alleviated the 
threat of spills to each of the identified Essential Habitat Areas; (4) 
L. higginsii habitat information and protective responses to conserve 
each of the identified Essential Habitat Areas have been incorporated 
into all applicable spill contingency planning efforts; and (5) harvest 
of freshwater mussels is prohibited by law or regulation in Essential 
Habitat Areas. Water quality criteria may be added to the delisting 
criteria upon completion of the tasks referred to in the 
reclassification criteria.

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

    Dated: May 27, 2004.
Dan Sobieck,
Acting Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3, Fort 
Snelling, Minnesota.
[FR Doc. 04-15910 Filed 7-13-04; 8:45 am]