News Release
Southeast Region
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Fish and Wildlife Service Announces Five-Year Review Regarding Status of Three Endangered Southeastern Mussels



August 6, 2008



Tom MacKenzie, 678-296-6400,
Jim Widlak, 931/528-6481


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a five-year status review that recommends removing three endangered mussels from the list of endangered and threatened species because they are believed to be extinct.

The three endangered Southeastern mussels are the turgid-blossom pearlymussel, yellow-blossom pearlymussel, and green-blossom pearlymussel.

The turgid-blossom pearlymussel lived in the Tennessee River and Cumberland River drainages in Tennessee, in Spring Creek, the Black River, and White River in Arkansas, and in Shoal Creek and Bear Creek in Alabama.  The yellow-blossom pearlymussel lived in the Tennessee River and Cumberland River drainages in Tennessee and Alabama.  The green-blossom pearlymussel lived in the upper Tennessee River drainage in Tennessee and Virginia.  All three species were listed as endangered in 1976.

Findings from the five-year review indicate that live or fresh-dead individuals of the green-blossom pearlymussel have not been found throughout its range for 26 years.  Live or fresh-dead individuals of the yellow-blossom pearlymussel and turgid-blossom pearlymussel have not been collected for 41 years and 43 years, respectively, and reproducing populations of all three species have not been reported for more than 50 years.  Biologists have conducted comprehensive mussel surveys in rivers historically supporting these species, but have not found them despite the fact that some of the rivers currently support good populations of other mussel species.  While not targeted for these blossom mussels, these surveys were thorough, and have been conducted throughout the past several decades as part of, for example, section 7 consultations or state conducted surveys.

Habitat fragmentation, alteration, and destruction are the leading probable causes for the three mussel species’ decline.

Under the Endangered Species Act, species are designated as endangered when they are in danger of becoming extinct throughout all or a significant portion of their range.  Although the Service has made a recommendation to delist these three mussel species, a five-year review is not a decision-making document.  A decision to delist requires a separate rulemaking process providing ample opportunity for public review and comment.

A copy of the review is on the Service’s website at

NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at Atlanta, GA 30345, Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286. Our national home page is at:


2008 News Releases.

Last updated: August 6, 2008