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Courthouse News Service, October 9, 2010

Endangered Status Is Proposed for Spinymussel

WASHINGTON - Only 34 specimens of the Altamaha spinymussel, a freshwater mussel endemic to the Altamaha River in southeastern Georgia were found after ten years of searching, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife believes the species will go extinct unless it is protected under the Endangered Species Act, according to a proposed listing notice by the agency.

The species was first identified as a candidate species for protection under the act in 1984 and it has languished on the candidate list until 2005 when the agency precluded a proposed listing of the spinymussel by higher priority listings.

In 2006 the agency reviewed new data indicating that deadhead logging operations were a new and significant threat to the spinymussel and revised its listing priority number from five to two a level which reflects that threats to the species are imminent and of high magnitude.

The agency requests comments on the proposal to list the species as endangered and will formulate a final listing proposal based on information gathered in the public phase.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton