This announcement appeared in today's Federal Register. A 60-day comment period is now open before this rule would go into effect. The Summary follows:
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to list the Alabama pearlshell (Margaritifera marrianae), round ebonyshell (Fusconaia rotulata), southern sandshell (Hamiota australis), southern kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus jonesi), and Choctaw bean (Villosa choctawensis) as endangered, and the tapered pigtoe (Fusconaia burkei), narrow pigtoe (Fusconaia escambia), and fuzzy pigtoe (Pleurobema strodeanum) as threatened, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).
These eight species are endemic to portions of the Escambia River, Yellow River, and Choctawhatchee River basins of Alabama and Florida; and to localized portions of the Mobile River Basin in Alabama. These mussel species have disappeared from other portions of their natural ranges primarily due to habitat deterioration and poor water quality as a result of excessive sedimentation and environmental contaminants.
We are also proposing to designate critical habitat under the Act for these eight species. In total, approximately 2,406 (kilometers (km) (1,495) miles (mi)) of stream and river channels fall within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designation. The proposed critical habitat is located in Bay, Escambia, Holmes, Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Washington Counties, FL; and Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Monroe, and Pike Counties, Alabama.
These proposals, if made final, would implement Federal protection provided by the Act.
Federal Register announcement
Fish & Wildlife Wants Protection For AL/FL Mussels
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