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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.

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Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

« FWS declines to list American pika, but proposes experimental population of Sonoran Proghorn | Main| NOAA considering Endangered Species Act protections for 82 coral species »

FWS announces economic analysis of mollusk critical habitat in deep south, and revised recovery plan for Yuma clapper rail

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75 Fed. Reg. 6613 / Vol. 75, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2010 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17
Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2008-0104 / MO 92210-0-0009-B4 / RIN 1018-AU88
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing with Designation of Critical Habitat for the Georgia Pigtoe Mussel, Interrupted Rocksnail, and Rough Hornsnail
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period, availability of draft economic analysis, amended required determinations, and announcement of public hearing.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of the draft economic analysis for the proposed designation of critical habitat for 3 mollusks, Georgia pigtoe mussel (Pleurobema hanleyianum), interrupted rocksnail (Leptoxis foremani), and rough hornsnail (Pleurocera foremani), under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We also announce the availability of a draft economic analysis (DEA) and an amended required determinations section of the proposal. We are reopening the comment period for an additional 30 days to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment simultaneously on the proposed listing and designation of critical habitat for the 3 mollusks, the associated DEA, and the amended required determinations section. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted and will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule. We also announce a public hearing; the public is invited to review and comment on any of the above actions associated with the proposed listing and critical habitat designation at the public hearing or in writing.
DATES: Written Comments: We will consider public comments received or postmarked on or before March 12, 2010.

InterruptedRocksnail.jpg
The FWS announcement in the Federal Register explains that the Georgia pigtoe, interrupted rocksnail, and rough hornsnail are endemic to the Coosa River drainage within the Mobile River Basin of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia. These 3 species have disappeared from large portions of their natural ranges due to the construction of dams that eliminated or reduced water currents and caused changes in habitat and water quality. The surviving populations are small, localized, and highly vulnerable to water quality and habitat deterioration.  Photo of Interrupted Rocksnail from Mobile River Basin Coalition.

KEITHINKING: Add a new wrinkle to the multi-state water resource disputes.

FOR MORE information about the Yuma Clapper Rail...
75 Fed. Reg. 6697 / Vol. 75, No. 27 / Wednesday, February 10, 2010 / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service
FWS–R2–ES–2009–N273; 20124–1113–0000–C2
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Yuma Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis) Recovery Plan, First Revision
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of document availability for public review: draft revised recovery plan.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of the Draft Yuma Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis) Recovery Plan, First Revision under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The species currently inhabits the mainstem Colorado River in Arizona, California, and Nevada; the Virgin River in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah; the Gila River in Arizona; and the Salton Sea in California. The Service solicits review and comment from the public on this draft revised recovery plan. The Service will also accept any new information on the status of the Yuma clapper rail throughout its range to assist in finalizing the revised recovery plan.
DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive any comments no later than April 12, 2010.
LINKS: The recently proposed Revised Recovery Plan is available from the FWS Arizona Office.  Also visit the original recovery plan.

YumaClapperRailFWS.jpg
The Yuma clapper rail is the only subspecies of clapper rail found in freshwater marshes. Historically, cattail/bulrush marshes in the Colorado River Delta were the likely stronghold for the species. The virtual elimination of freshwater flows down the LCR to the Delta due to diversions from the river for agriculture and municipal uses destroyed that habitat. Existing habitats are primarily either human-made, as are the managed ponds at Salton Sea or the effluent-supported marshes at the Cienega de Santa Clara, or formed behind dams and diversions on the LCR at the time those structures were created. This entire habitat is subject to natural successional processes that reduce habitat value over time without also being subject to natural restorative events generated by a natural hydrograph. The greatest threat to the Yuma clapper rail is that without active management and protection of water sources supporting the habitat, these habitat areas will be permanently lost.  Photo by FWS Jim Rorabaugh.