[Federal Register: August 6, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 151)]
[Page 47949-47950]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Scaleshell Mussel (Leptodea 
leptodon) Draft Recovery Plan for Review and Comment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces 
availability for public review of the draft recovery plan for the 
scaleshell mussel (Leptodea leptodon), a species that is federally 
listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as 
amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et. seq.). The purpose of this plan is to 
recover this species in order that it can be removed from the list of 
Threatened and Endangered Species. Currently, only 14 rivers support 
very small populations in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The Service 
solicits review and comment from the public on this draft plan.

DATES: Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or 
before September 7, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the draft recovery plan may obtain 
a copy by contacting the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Ecological Services Field Office, 608 E. Cherry St., Room 200, 
Columbia, Missouri 65201-7712 (telephone (573) 876-1911) or by 
accessing the Web site: http://midwest.fws.gov/Endangered.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Andy Roberts at the above address 
and telephone (ext. 110). TTY users may contact Mr. Roberts through the 
Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.



    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is a 
primary goal of the Service's endangered species program. To help guide 
the recovery effort, the Service is working to prepare recovery plans 
for most of the federally listed threatened and endangered species 
native to the United States. Recovery plans describe actions considered 
necessary for conservation of the species, establish criteria for 
reclassification and delisting, and provide estimates of the time and 
costs for implementing the recovery measures needed.
    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 public notice and opportunity for public review and comment be 
provided during recovery plan development. The Service will consider 
all information presented during a public comment period prior to 
approval of each new or revised recovery plan. The Service and other 
Federal agencies will also take these comments into consideration in 
the course of implementing approved recovery plans.
    The scaleshell was listed as endangered on October 9, 2001. It once 
occurred in 55 rivers across 13 states in the Mississippi River 
drainage. The species has undergone a dramatic reduction in range and 
has further declined in the last few decades. Currently, only 14 rivers 
support very small populations in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The 
scaleshell occurs in medium to large rivers with low to medium 
gradients. It primarily inhabits gravel or mud substrate in stable 
riffles and runs with moderate current velocity. The scaleshell 
requires good water quality and is usually found where a diversity of 
other mussel species are concentrated. More specific habitat 
requirements of scaleshell are unknown, particularly habitat 
requirements of the juvenile stage. Water quality degradation, 
sedimentation, channel instability, and habitat destruction are 
contributing to the decline of the scaleshell throughout its range.
    The scaleshell will be considered for downlisting to threatened 
status when the likelihood of the species becoming extinct in the 
foreseeable future has been eliminated by the achievement of the 
following criteria: (1) Through protection of existing populations, 
successful establishment of reintroduced populations, or discovery of 
additional populations, four stream populations exist, each in a 
separate watershed and each made up of at least four local populations 
that are located in distinct areas of the stream; (2) all local 
populations are persistent and viable in terms of population size, age 
structure, and recruitment; (3) each local population and their habitat 
are sufficiently protected from any present and foreseeable threats 
that would jeopardize their continued existence; (4) tasks will be 
completed to determine if water quality criteria should be included as 
a delisting criteria and, if so, water quality criteria for delisting 
will be developed; and (5) measures are in place to prevent the spread 
of zebra mussels into habitat occupied by the

[[Page 47950]]

scaleshell where zebra mussels have not become established.
    The scaleshell will be considered for delisting when the likelihood 
of the species becoming threatened in the foreseeable future has been 
eliminated by the achievement of the following criteria: (1) Through 
protection of existing populations, successful establishment of 
reintroduced populations, or discovery of additional populations, a 
total of eight stream populations exist in separate watersheds, one 
located in the Upper Mississippi Basin, four in the Middle Mississippi 
River Basin (including two east of the Mississippi River), and three in 
the Lower Mississippi River Basin, and each of these is made up of four 
local and geographically distinct populations; (2) all local 
populations are persistent and viable in terms of population size, age 
structure, and recruitment; (3) each local population and their habitat 
are sufficiently protected from any present and foreseeable threats 
that would jeopardize their continued existence; (4) measures are in 
place to prevent the spread of zebra mussels into habitat occupied by 
the scaleshell where zebra mussels have not become established; and (5) 
water quality criteria may be added to the recovery criteria for 
delisting upon completion of the tasks referred to under the recovery 
criteria for reclassification. Additional detail on downlisting and 
delisting criteria is available in the draft recovery plan.
    These criteria will be met through the following actions: (1) 
Prevent the extirpation and stabilize existing populations through 
artificial propagation; (2) form partnerships and use existing programs 
to protect remaining populations, restore habitat, and improve surface 
lands; (3) improve understanding of the biology and ecology of 
scaleshell; (4) further delineate the current status and distribution 
of scaleshell; (5) restore degraded habitat in areas of historical 
range; (6) reintroduce scaleshell into portions of its former range; 
(7) initiate various educational and public outreach actions to 
heighten awareness of the scaleshell as an endangered species and 
solicit help with recovery actions; and (8) track recovery and conduct 
periodic evaluations with respect to recovery criteria.

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service solicits written comments on the draft recovery plan. 
All comments received by the date specified will be considered prior to 
approval of the plan. Written comments and materials regarding the plan 
should be sent to the Field Supervisor, Ecological Services Field 
Office (see ADDRESSES section). Comments received will be available for 
public inspection by appointment during normal business hours.

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

    Dated: July 14, 2004.
Ms. Lynn Lewis,
Acting Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3.
[FR Doc. 04-17974 Filed 8-5-04; 8:45 am]