cloudyn.png
Tuesday December 10th, 2019 7:30PM

Another freshwater mussel could get federal protection

By The Associated Press

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Wednesday proposed protecting a species of Southeastern freshwater mussel under the Endangered Species Act, a move that reflects the threat of pollution and climate change to freshwater mussels overall.

Yellowish in color and shaped somewhat like a pig's toe, the Atlantic pigtoe is native to states in the southeastern U.S. that range from Virginia to Georgia. But the species appears to have dwindled to seven populations in North Carolina and Virginia. It's could be at risk of extinction in 50 years, according to U.S. Fish & Wildlife documents.

Mussels help to support the ecosystems of rivers by filtering water. But Atlantic pigtoe need to live in clean and flowing waterways. Runoff from development and farms has muddied or polluted the rivers and creeks in which they live.

Climate change also has worsened the droughts and storms that can disrupt their habitats. Rising water temperatures also threaten young mussels.

"Most of the remaining populations are small and fragmented, only occupying a fraction of reaches that were historically occupied," U.S. Fish & Wildlife stated in a filing.

The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, said it sued the federal government to protect the Atlantic pigtoe. The group said freshwater mussels in general are "the most endangered group of organisms in the United States."

The center claims that 35 species have already been declared extinct and that its work has led to federal protection for 21 kinds of mussels, while more are under review.

"In the biggest picture, the fate of freshwater mussels is tied to the fate of humans because both depend on clean water," said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the center. "Everything we can do to help them will help us in the long run."

U.S. Fish & Wildlife has proposed listing the Atlantic pigtoe as "threatened" and would designate more than 500 miles of rivers in two states as critical habitat. River basins would include those of the James and Roanoke rivers as well as the Tar and Cape Fear rivers.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online - Georgia News, AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Senate vote on health care likely fodder for both parties
Candidates in both parties likely to point to latest Senate vote on health care in effort to gain votes
12:23AM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: IMF head says Pakistan help must be transparent
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said a bailout package for Pakistan would need to be fully transparent
12:08AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Losses on Wall Street ripple through Asia; stocks slump
Asian markets are broadly lower after Wall Street slumped on a heavy selling of technology and internet stocks
11:56PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
AP Online - Georgia News
AP Online Headlines - Georgia News
Senate vote on health care likely fodder for both parties
Candidates in both parties likely to point to latest Senate vote on health care in effort to gain votes
12:23AM ( 8 minutes ago )
The Latest: IMF head says Pakistan help must be transparent
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde has said a bailout package for Pakistan would need to be fully transparent
12:08AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Losses on Wall Street ripple through Asia; stocks slump
Asian markets are broadly lower after Wall Street slumped on a heavy selling of technology and internet stocks
11:56PM ( 36 minutes ago )
LeBron, Lonzo take the floor together for first time
LeBron James and Lonzo Ball getting a chance to work on their in-game chemistry
11:19PM ( 1 hour ago )
Tennessee Senate candidates exchange barbs in final debate
Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn repeatedly attempted to tie her Democratic opponent Phil Bredesen to national Democrats in their second and final debate
11:14PM ( 1 hour ago )