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Tawny brown shell rests in outstretched hand. Shell covers index and middle fingers.
Information icon Canoe Creek clubshell. Photo by USFWS.

Service seeks public comment on proposal to list Alabama mussel under the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the Canoe Creek clubshell, a freshwater mussel found only in a single watershed in northern Alabama, as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service is also proposing critical habitat protections for the species.

The clubshell requires clean, flowing water to survive, and according to a science-based review, sedimentation, poor water quality, loss of habitat and events such as droughts and floods, have devastated clubshell populations. Portions of Neely Henry Reservoir has also split its range into eastern and western portions, greatly hindering its reproductive capacity.

“Listing the Canoe Creek clubshell as endangered under the Endangered Species Act will provide opportunities for the Service to further assist our conservation partners with the vital work they have been conducting in the watershed.” said Leo Miranda, the Service’s Regional Director. “We look forward to continuing partnerships designed to protect and recover a freshwater mussel that occurs nowhere else in the world and that serves as an indicator of healthy streams and rivers – a resource that benefits people and wildlife alike.”

As part of that effort, the Service is proposing to designate 58.5 km (36.3 mi) of river across two units as critical habitat for the Canoe Creek clubshell. The eastern portion includes Little Canoe Creek East, and the western portion includes Big Canoe Creek/Little Canoe Creek West. Both units are currently occupied by the species. The proposed critical habitat also overlaps partially with the designated critical habitat of other listed freshwater mussels.

The critical habitat designation will also alert federal agencies that they are required to make special conservation efforts when they work, fund or permit activities in those areas. The designation will have no impact on private landowners taking actions on their land that do not require federal funding or permits.

The public is invited to submit written comments on the proposal to list the Canoe Creek clubshell and designate critical habitat up to 60 days from its November 3, 2020 publication in the Federal Register. Please submit comments by January 4, 2021. The Service will post all comments on regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process.

All relevant information received during the open comment period from the public, government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties will be considered and addressed in the Service’s final listing determination and critical habitat designation for the Canoe Creek clubshell.

The complete listing proposal can be obtained by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal: regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS–R4–ES–2020–0078.

Species Status Assessment (SSA), or learn more about this decision by reading the Frequently Asked Questions

Contact

Denise Rowell, denise_rowell@fws.gov, 251-441-6630 

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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