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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct a five-year status review of two mussels in Arkansas, the agency announced last week.

The Neosho mucket mussel is considered endangered and the rabbitsfoot mussel is considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The mussels received critical habitat designation in 2015 after nearly two years of dispute over how much land should be designated for them.

Last year, the Fish and Wildlife Service released a six-page draft recovery plan for the Neosho mucket.

The plan calls for establishing "viable populations" in the four watersheds in four states where the mussel is found. Additional but lower priorities include protecting and improving the Neosho mucket's habitat, ensuring that policies and regulations to protect the mussel are being followed, monitoring the mussel, preventing the spread of competitive nonnative species, researching and reviewing progress.

An agency official in Arkansas told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette last year that implementation of best management practices for land use would generally reduce sedimentation and runoff and improve water quality.

The mussel has disappeared from about 62 percent of its historical range, according to the service.

The agency is conducting status reviews for 36 species, and the mussels are the only Arkansas species included.

NW News on 04/17/2019

Print Headline: Status review set on at-risk mussels

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