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YA Eco Mysteries, Memoirs, Novels & Travel

Witnessing an Aquatic Species Being Saved From Extinction!

It was absolutely thrilling to be standing on the banks of Bear Creek in Colbert County, to witness, with our own eyes, a new population of mussels (Lampsilis virescens), being saved from extinction. This is good news for an Alabama and our planet!
The Alabama Lampmussel is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and is considered a Priority 1 Species by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). A Priority 1 species is one that is critically imperiled and at risk of extinction/extirpation because of rarity, restricted distribution, decreasing population, specialized habitat needs, or habitat vulnerability.
Biologists raised this population at the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center, an ADCNR imperiled species recovery facility based outside Marion, Alabama.
“We’re excited to partner with other state and federal wildlife resource agencies in directing a comprehensive species recovery effort for what is truly one of the rarest species in the United States,” said Dr. Paul Johnson, Program Supervisor for the Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center. “Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the ADCNR, the Alabama Lampmussel is on the road to recovery. Although the species is still critically imperiled, adding a third population to its range significantly reduces its chances of going extinct in our lifetime,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Biologist Jeff Powell. Bear Creek contains a high diversity of fish and mollusks, including the federally-endangered Cumberland Combshell and state-protected Slenderhead Darter. It was also designated as critical habitat for two species of freshwater mussels by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004.
The reintroduction would not be possible without the help of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the National Park Service(NPS). The TVA agreed to modify operations at two dams in the headwaters of the Bear Creek system, making the habitat more conducive for the new population.
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Claire at Bear Creek, Alabama

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Lampsilis virescens tagged and ready to be placed in the river

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Carefully placing Lampsillis in the sandy river bed


Read report in Daily Times describing the event