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.


Tennessee State Parks To Host Public Input Hearing At Booker T. Washington State Park

Leaders from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will be conducting a public hearing at Booker T. Washington State Park on Thursday, Dec. 4, to gather public input and discuss the current business and management plan for the park.  The event will begin at  5:30 p.m.  with an open house reception to meet park staff and view exhibits. The ... (click for more)

SORBA Chattanooga Announces 2015 Race Series Schedule

SORBA (Southern Off-Road Biking Association) Chattanooga announced the Race Series schedule for 2015. Registration for all races opens on Dec. 1 . Pick Your Poison, a cross country race at Booker T. Washington State Park; Soul Sucker, which has a 25k and 50k option held at Raccoon Mountain; the Raccoon Mountain Super D, a downhill race; Night Shift, the six-hour twilight race ... (click for more)

1 Dies, 1 Critically Injured In North Chattanooga House Fire

For the second time in three days, a house fire has resulted in tragedy with a 35-year-old woman dying and a man critically injured in North Chattanooga. At 10:13 a.m. on Wednesday, Chattanooga firefighters were dispatched to a reported house fire with entrapment at 220 Houser St. The first firefighters on the scene saw flames shooting out windows and part of the roof. Having ... (click for more)

Appeal Dropped In $25 Million Lawsuit Filed Against Hennen's Restaurant By Lisa Barnes

An appeal has been dropped of a Circuit Court jury verdict that found Hennen's Restaurant not at fault in a $25 million lawsuit brought by Lisa Barnes. Circuit Court officials said the appeal was "voluntarily" dropped. It had been set to be reviewed by the Tennessee Court of Appeals. The verdict in the courtroom of Judge Neil Thomas in early February came at the end of ... (click for more)

Lawlessness At Heritage Park

As a frequent visitor at Heritage Park in East Brainerd, I must say that the situation is becoming slightly out of control.  To start, parking is atrocious.  The unpaved lot contains nothing but loose gravel which has naturally given way to divots in the ground assuring you a few bumps.  Why isn't this area smoothed out?  It's not worth parking there anyways ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why I Am Thankful 2014

Over 40 years ago I was a young sports writer when I came up with the notion of setting daily things aside, just for one day, and writing about why “I Am Thankful.” Every Thanksgiving I come up with my list and it is as much about me as it is about my gratitude for all things great and small. I can’t imagine approaching this day in any other way. Here we go … I AM THANKFUL for ... (click for more)