U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Lists Neosho Mucket As Endangered And Rabbitsfoot As Threatened

Monday, September 16, 2013

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is listing the Neosho mucket as endangered and the Rabbitsfoot as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Both species are freshwater mussels found in river systems in the eastern half of the United States. 

The Neosho mucket has been eliminated from about 62 percent of its historic range with only nine of 16 historic populations remaining.  Only one of these populations is known to be reproducing.  The Neosho mucket is currently found in Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

The Rabbitsfoot has disappeared from about 64 percent of its historic range.  While 51 of the 140 historic populations remain, only 11 populations (22 percent of its existing populations or eight percent of the historic populations) are viable; 23 populations (45 percent of the existing populations) are at risk of elimination; and 17 populations (33 percent of the current populations) show limited reproduction with little evidence of sustainability.   The Rabbitsfoot is currently found in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee.  The Rabbitsfoot is no longer found in Georgia and West Virginia.

In listing the two mussels, the Service evaluated factors that could lead to their extinction.  Threats to these mussels include loss and degradation of stream and river habitat due to impoundments, channelization, chemical contaminants, mining and sedimentation.  Freshwater mussels require clean water; their decline often signals a decline in the water quality of the streams and rivers they inhabit.

The Service’s final rule listing the Neosho mucket and the Rabbitsfoot appears in the September 17, 2013, Federal Register.  The protection for these mussel species under the ESA becomes effective 30 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.  The ultimate goal of the ESA is the recovery of these listed species, so that they no longer need the protective measures of the ESA.  The next step is development of a recovery plan that provides a guidebook for the Service and its conservation partners to address threats to the species survival and recovery.  When completed, the recovery plan will be available on the Service’s website at http://www.fws.gov/endangered.

It is illegal under the ESA to kill, harm or otherwise “take” a listed species, or to possess, import, export or conduct interstate or international commerce without authorization from the Service.  The ESA also requires all federal agencies to ensure actions they authorize, fund, or undertake do not jeopardize the existence of listed species. 

On Oct. 16, 2012, and May 9, 2013, the Service opened public comment periods on its proposal to list these mussels under the ESA. 12 comments were received on the proposed rule.  The Service did not receive any requests for a public hearing during either comment period.  However, it held public information meetings in Joplin, Mo., on May 21, and Greenville, Mo., on May 23.

For more information regarding the listing of these two freshwater mussels, please contact Chris Davidson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office, 110 South Amity Road Suite 300, Conway, Ar. 72302; telephone 501 513-4481; facsimile 501 513-4480.  Also, please visit http://www.fws.gov/arkansas-es/ or Docket #FWS-R4-ES-2012-0031 on http://www.regulations.gov/

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/southeast.  Connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws, and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.


Star Party At Cloudland Canyon Park Is Nov. 1

The Barnard Astronomical Society is conducting Star Party at Cloudland Canyon State Park on Saturday, Nov. 1. The event  is hosted by Friends of the Park and Cloudland Canyon Park Staff. The first part of the program will be at the Canyon overlook, near the Interpretative Center, beginning at 4 p.m., where there will be at least 1 telescope for solar observations. ... (click for more)

TWRA Introduces Tackett Creek Unit Of North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area

The TWRA has entered into a lease agreement with Molpus Timberlands Management, LLC to lease 43,000 acres, which is being utilized as the Tackett Creek unit of the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area. Located in both northeastern Campbell and northwestern Claiborne counties, the property, which has been historically used as a Public Hunting Area, is now in a five-year lease ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Firm Gets $1,010,000 Contract For Overseeing VW Expansion For New SUV Line

A Chattanooga firm is getting the contract for overseeing the construction work for the new SUV line at the Volkswagen plant. Officials said the EMJ Corporation has been selected for the project that will give a new surge of activity and employment at the plant at the Enterprise South Industrial Park. The work includes additions to the body shop and tech center and adding ... (click for more)

Man Airlifted To Erlanger After Early Morning Crash In Bradley County

Bradley County EMS responded to an early morning crash Thursday at 7 a.m. at the intersection of Lauderdale Memorial Highway and Walker Valley Road in Charleston. Three ambulances and an EMS supervisor responded to the scene. There were three vehicles involved and one car left the roadway.   One adult man suffered serious injuries and it was determined that he needed ... (click for more)

Chairs Cost How Much?

Many times while growing up, I would go to the store with my parents. More often than not, I would see something I wanted, and ask my parents to buy it for me. More often than not, they said no. “Why?” I asked. “Son, money doesn’t grow on trees.” That’s a phrase I’m sure many of us have heard more than once over the course of our lives. However, I have since learned that they were ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Dear Friend Luther

One sunny morning in June years ago, the renowned radio icon Luther Masingill was on his way back to the WDEF studios on South Broad Street when he stopped for a red light and noticed a young couple in a car idling next to his familiar light blue Ford pickup. “What caught my eye was a buck-toothed boy eating a banana in the back seat,” he explained in an aside to that day’s lunchtime ... (click for more)