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Agency Plans to List Two Mussels As Endangered

WASHINGTON (CN) - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to list the fluted kidneyshell and slabside pearlymussel as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, with 1,380 river miles of designated critical habitat in Alabama, Tennessee and Virginia.

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Although North American mussels are more biologically diverse than elsewhere in the world, they are in decline and "have become more imperiled than any other group of organisms," the agency stated. "Seventy-five percent of southeastern mussel species are in varying degrees of rarity or possibly extinct," the proposed regulation continued.

The mussels face threats due to modification and destruction of habitat from dams, poor water quality and sedimentation, the agency said.

The fluted kidneyshell has already disappeared from 50 percent of its historical habitat and the slabside pearlymussel has suffered "drastic recent declines" and "appears to be viable in just two streams," said the proposal.

These mussels can live up to 55 years, the agency noted.

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