July 21, 2003
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has written a draft recovery plan for seven freshwater mussels listed on the federal threatened and endangered species list and is seeking the public’s input on the plan.
These seven mussels can be found today only in a few river basins in Alabama, Florida, and Georgia – the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint, Ochlockonee, Suwannee, and Econfina Creek basins. Once they were more widely distributed in hundreds of stream miles in these basins.
This draft plan describes what is needed for the conservation of these seven mussels, establishes criteria for recovery levels required for downlisting or delisting each species, and estimates the time and cost for implementing the needed recovery measures. All seven were listed in March 1998.
Responsible for the decline in range and abundance of these species has most likely been changes to their habitat. These have included the introduction of contaminants, the construction of dams and other impoundments, gravel mining, and sedimentation. Genetic factors associated with the increasingly small and isolated populations and the introduction of alien species also may present obstacles to their recovery.
Because mussels continuously siphon water while filtering for food, they accumulate chemicals in their bodies and shells, including contaminants present in their surroundings. This activity makes mussels good indicators of the health of streams they inhabit. Mussels are also important as food sources for a variety of mammals, birds, fish and turtles.
Copies of the plan can be
obtained by writing to the Panama City Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, 1601 Balboa Avenue, Panama City, Florida, 32405, by calling
Jerry Ziewitz at 850/769-0552, ext. 223, or by visiting our website
Comments must be received in the Panama City Field Office on or before
August 18, 2003. The Federal Register notice can be found at: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2003/03-18081.htm
Mussels Recovery Plan -- (pdf file)
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://southeast.fws.gov. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/.
Atlanta, GA 30345