For Immediate Release
July 8, 1998

Contact: Diana Hawkins


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public comments on a revised multi-species draft recovery plan for the Mobile River Basin aquatic ecosystem. The plan specifically addresses recovery objectives and criteria for 15 of 32 freshwater protected animal and plant species in the Basin, and complements existing recovery plans previously developed for 17 additional species. These 32 species include 2 turtles, 10 fish, 17 mussels, 1 snail, and 2 plants.

The Basin drains much of central and southwestern Alabama as well as portions of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Georgia and has been widely impacted by past activities in the Basin, such as damming, channelization, mining, dredging, and pollution.

Originally released on September 28, 1994, the draft plan has since been modified to incorporate comments and suggestions that resulted from an extensive review by a cross-section of public and private interests within the Basin. Participants in the review included private landowners, industry representatives, environmental organizations, and State and Federal agencies. The revised draft plan represents a consensus by this diverse group of actions that can be accomplished under existing laws and regulations to sustain, protect, and enhance the freshwater habitats of the Basin.

Once completed, the plan will serve as a guide for Federal and State agencies, industries, private groups, and individuals whose actions may affect the conservation of listed species within the Basin. The draft recovery plan released June 29, 1998, calls for protection of river and stream habitats and water quality, development of mitigation strategies for unavoidable impacts to these habitats, community based watershed stewardship planning and action, concerted public education efforts, and basic research on freshwater species endemic to the Basin.

Copies of the draft plan can be obtained from the Fish and Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Suite A, Jackson, Mississippi 39213, telephone 601/965-4900. The Service will collect written public comments on its draft recovery plan until August 13, 1998.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service's nearly 93 million acres include 514 national wildlife refuges, 78 ecological services field stations, 66 national fish hatcheries, 50 wildlife coordination areas, and 38 wetland management districts with waterfowl production areas.

The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, administers the Endangered Species Act, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes Federal excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies. This program is a cornerstone of the Nation's wildlife management efforts, funding fish and wildlife restoration, boating access, hunter education, shooting ranges, and related projects across America.

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Release #: R98-057

1998 News Releases

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