Private landowners step up to save the Carolina Heelsplitter
South Carolina, like many states in the Southeast Region, is mostly made up of private lands. Therefore, these lands and their owners are crucial to any effort aimed at recovery of endangered species. Last fall, a number of private entities voluntarily contributed to the ongoing recovery efforts for the critically endangered Carolina heelsplitter, a freshwater mussel.
Successful propagation efforts for the heelsplitter at Orangeburg National Fish Hatchery had produced nearly 700 individuals that needed homes in streams with existing suitable habitat. These young heelsplitters had been raised from brood stock taken from the Pee Dee and Catawba River Basins, so the Service investigated land ownership within these areas. Fairly quickly, three private landowners (one industrial, one private citizen and one non-profit) happily agreed to allow young heelsplitters to be placed on their property.
Not only did these landowners provide valuable access to their land, they also contributed personal labor and media resources to get the job done. Three hundred heelsplitters were placed in Gills Creek (Catawba Basin) and nearly 400 in Flat Creek (Pee Dee Basin), both in Lancaster County, South Carolina. Everybody involved is excited to chart the success of these efforts and watch the little heelspitters grow.
- Carolina Heelsplitter
- Endangered Species Act
- Freshwater Mussel
- North Carolina
- Orangeburg National Fish Hatchery
- South Carolina
- South Carolina Ecological Services Field Office
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 can make it happen, visit fws.gov. Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.