Proactive Stakeholder Collaboration Aims To Benefit Freshwater Mussels in Texas
Freshwater mussels may lack charisma, as they look like nothing more than rocks. But that belies the natural wonders of their life-history and their incredibly important role in the ecology of streams and the people and economies that rely on the same water. Work getting underway in Texas holds promise for mussels in most need.
On February 7, 2017, more than 100 stakeholders gathered in Austin, Texas, to hear from top State and Federal officials about research focused on four Central Texas freshwater mussel species considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA): the false spike, Texas fatmucket, Texas fawnsfoot, and the Texas pimpleback. Glenn Hegar, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, recently awarded $2.3 million dollars to advance the scientific understanding of these mussel species given that conservation actions have the potential to affect the Texas economy. These four species are unique to the Brazos, Colorado and Guadalupe River basins and lie in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s - Southwest Region’s East Texas-East Oklahoma Emphasis Area.
Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, Regional Director for the Southwest Region, spoke at the gathering. He applauded the State’s mussel research program and a stakeholder process to be led by the Comptroller’s office that affords the opportunity to voluntarily conserve mussels and their habitats. Dr. Tuggle highlighted two examples of prior success: In West Texas, stakeholders implemented a conservation plan for the dunes sagebrush lizard that kept it off the endangered species list. Secondly, the City of Georgetown, Texas, passed an ordinance to protect water quality for the Georgetown salamander that ultimately led to its listing as a threatened species rather than endangered.
Since 1999, West Nile virus has spread throughout the U.S., frequently sickening and occasionally killing people. The virus has killed at least one person in every state in the conterminous U.S. “There are many risk factors for infection with West Nile virus,” says U.S. Forest Service research forester Wayne Zipperer. “However, risk factors are complicated and not well understood.”
Mosquitoes, such as this southern house mosquito, can become infected with West Nile virus. When the mosquito feeds on a human, the virus can be transmitted. Photo by Jim Gathany, CDC, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Evan Jenkins (R-WV) and David McKinley (R-WV) introduced H. J. Res. 38. This is a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act related to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s (OSM) final Stream Protection Rule (SPR). During the rulemaking process, OSM shut out cooperative agencies – the states responsible for enforcing federal mining regulations – and ignored the existing regulatory success as the state and federal level.
Monthly Update - December 1-31, 2016 - The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR), and New Mexico. Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ mexicanwolf.
This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).
RENO, Nev. In an effort to find common ground to preserve sage brush ecosystem in Nevada, federal and state agencies and key stakeholders have agreed to form working groups to identify regulatory flexibility and improve communication and outreach between themselves and the public.
The agreement came from a workshop held in Reno in early December that focused on collaboration. The workshop, which was attended by about 80 people, was organized by the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service and the State of Nevada. The primary focus of the workshop was teaching participants how to work with each other in order to find common ground, respect others’ point of view, and effectively manage conflict when dealing with issues related to conservation of the sagebrush ecosystem.