Press Release
Service Announces Availability of Final Recovery Plan for Rabbitsfoot Mussel
Media Contacts

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing the availability of the final recovery plan for the rabbitsfoot mussel. This plan includes specific criteria for determining when the rabbitsfoot should be considered for delisting, removing it from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. It also lists site-specific actions that will be necessary to meet those criteria and estimates the time and costs required for implementing actions necessary to achieve recovery.  

The rabbitsfoot is a freshwater mussel subspecies federally listed as threatened in October 2013. Historically, the subspecies occurred within at least 434 watersheds located throughout the lower Great Lakes and Mississippi river sub-basins and Ohio, Cumberland, Tennessee, White, Arkansas, and Red river systems in 15 states. Faced with growing habitat loss and modifications, the subspecies has seen a reduction of between 63% and 70% of its historical range and is presumed extirpated from 288 of those watersheds. Recovery actions for the subspecies will focus on protection and management of current populations, reducing threats to the subspecies, and improving the understanding of the needs of the subspecies through research and monitoring within watersheds located across its range. Captive propagation and reintroductions of the subspecies into suitable habitat areas will also be implemented.  

In order to promote and support the conservation and survival of endangered and threatened species, and provide a transparent path to achieving recovery, we and our partners develop and implement recovery plans. Recovery plans are unique to each species and serve as central organizing tools that provide important guidance on methods of minimizing threats to listed species, such as restoring and acquiring habitat, removing introduced predators or invasive species invasive species
An invasive species is any plant or animal that has spread or been introduced into a new area where they are, or could, cause harm to the environment, economy, or human, animal, or plant health. Their unwelcome presence can destroy ecosystems and cost millions of dollars.

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, conducting surveys, monitoring individual populations, and breeding species in captivity and releasing them into their historical range. Recovery plans identify measurable and objective criteria against which progress toward recovery of a species can be tracked over time. Recovery plans are guidance and not regulatory documents, and no agency or entity is required by the Endangered Species Act to implement actions in a recovery plan.  

The final recovery plan will be made available at:  

To obtain a copy by mail, send a request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office, 110 South Amity Road, Suite 300, Conway, AR 72032–8975 or by phone: 501–513–4473.  

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. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit Connect with us on Facebook at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at, and download photos from our Flickr page at