For Immediate Release
October 19, 1999

Contact: Tom MacKenzie 404/679-7291 Pager: 800/291-9642

Notice of Availability of a Technical/Agency Draft Recovery Plan for Seven Freshwater Mussels

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the availability for public review of the technical/agency draft recovery plan for the endangered fat threeridge (Amblema neislerii), shinyrayed pocketbook (Lampsilis subangulata), Gulf moccasinshell (Medionidus simpsonianus), Ochlockonee moccasinshell (Medionidus simpsonianus), oval pigtoe (Pleurobema pyriforme) and the threatened Chipola slapshell (Elliptio chipolaensis) and purple bankclimber (Elliptoideus sloatianus). These seven freshwater mussels were all listed under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, on March 16, 1998.

These mussels are endemic to eastern Gulf Slope streams draining the Apalachicola Region of southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia, and north Florida. Their center of distribution is the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River basin of southeast Alabama, southwest Georgia, and northwest Florida. They are currently known from restricted portions of from one to four independent river systems. These species inhabit stable sandy and gravelly substrates in medium-sized streams to large rivers, often in areas swept free of silt by the current.

The abundance and distributions of these seven mussel species decreased historically from habitat loss associated with reservoir construction, channel construction and maintenance, and erosion. These habitat changes have resulted in significant extirpations (localized loss of populations), restricted and fragmented distributions, and poor recruitment of young.

The Service is soliciting review and comment from the public on this draft plan. Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or before November 15, 1999 for consideration in the development of the final plan. Copies of the draft recovery plan may be obtained by contacting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Panama City Field Office, 1612 June Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32405, telephone 850/769-0552. Please send written comments and materials regarding the draft plan to Ms. Gail Carmody at the above address. Comments and materials received are available upon request for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above address. For further information, contact Ms. Carmody at the above address and telephone number (extension 225).

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 manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprising more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies.

Release R99-83


1999 News Releases
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