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HCC Conservation Forum

Six Species of Texas Freshwater Mussels are Declar...
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More than 50 species of freshwater mussels are found in Texas. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a single freshwater mussel can filter 8 to 15 gallons of water per day, making these animals some of the most powerful filters in watersheds. These mussels have declined in recent years due to destruction of their habitat. On June 3, the USFWS declared that 6 of these species are endangered and that one other species is threatened.

This designation bans development or projects that could harm the endangered species and requires a federal permit or license, unless the permit seeker works with the Fish and Wildlife Service to modify their projects to protect the endangered species. Designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership, establish a refuge or preserve, or impact actions taken by private landowners on their land that do not require federal funding or permits.

In its ruling, USFWS also designated 1,577 miles of rivers and creeks in the Colorado, Guadalupe, Brazos and Trinity River basins as critical habitat or as areas important to these species’ conservation and recovery.

You can learn more in the recent article by Alejandra Martinez in The Texas Tribune and read the entire designation document in the June 4, 2024 edition of the Federal Register

Bruce Bodson and Glebula rotundata at Lake Charlotte

Photo by Tom Douglas 

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