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An orange mussel partially covered by silt and algae
Information icon Neosho mucket. Photo by Kevin Mouser, , on iNaturalist.

Final reocvery plan for endangered mussel available

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the availability of the final recovery plan for the Neosho mucket, a federally endangered mussel that grows up to five inches long.

Neosho muckets historically occurred in at least 17 streams within the Illinois, Neosho, and Verdigris River basins covering four states (Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri).

It is threatened primarily by factors associated with the destruction or modification of its habitat. Threats include impoundment, sedimentation, chemical contaminants, mining, inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, population fragmentation and isolation, invasive nonindigenous species, and water temperature. Primary concerns for the species are related to curtailment of habitat and range, small population sizes, and their resulting vulnerability to natural or human induced catastrophic events.

“This mussel continues to face significant challenges, which is why we are working closely with private landowners and communities, state and federal agencies, universities, and conservation institutes, to survey for individuals, protect and restore habitat, and find unique ways to recover this mussel,” said Leo Miranda, the Southeast Region’s regional director.

The recovery plan describes actions considered necessary for the recovery of this listed mussel, establishes recovery criteria for delisting, and estimates the time and cost for implementing needed measures.

The strategy for recovery of Neosho mucket is to:

  1. conserve the range of genetic and morphological diversity of the species across its historical range;
  2. fully quantify population demographics and status within each river;
  3. improve population size and viability within each river;
  4. reduce threats adversely affecting the species within each river (e.g., habitat degradation from sedimentation, chemical contaminants, channel destabilization, water diversion);
  5. emphasize voluntary soil and water stewardship practices by citizens living and working within each watershed; and
  6. potentially use captive propagation to prevent local extirpation where recruitment failure is occurring and for reintroduction within rivers historically occupied by the Neosho mucket.

Recovery will require an increased understanding of the species status throughout its range; developing information on life history, ecology, mortality, and habitat requirements; improving our understanding of some poorly understood threats potentially affecting the species; and using this information to implement management actions to promote recovery. Conservation and recovery of the species will require human intervention for the immediate future.

To view the recovery plan on the web, please visit fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html. Request a paper copy of the plan and its associated documents by contacting the Service’s Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office at 501-513-4470.

More information concerning this endangered mussel, including a link to its conservation strategy and status assessment (companion documents to the recovery plan), can be found on the Arkansas Field Office website.

Contact

Phil Kloer, public affairs specialist
philip_kloer@fws.gov, (404) 679-7299

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.

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