Jun 21, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Trump Administration Eyes Threatened Species Status For Yellow Lance Freshwater Mussel

Apr 07, 2017 01:37 PM EDT

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The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the administration of United States President Donald Trump is serious about protecting the yellow lance freshwater mussel. This is evident with the FWS proposal to include the mussel species under the Threatened Species List. This freshwater mussel species is presently being threatened but the agency indicated the possibility that it could become endangered if it is not protected soon.

The yellow lance freshwater mussel is native to Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. Experts at FWS said the mussel's population has reduced by 57 percent. To prevent its population from further decline, it should be formally listed under the Endangered Species Act under the threatened species category

As early as 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity already called the attention of the FWS on the status of the yellow lance freshwater mussel, according to The Hill. The agency agreed to review the status of the mussels although it did not agree with the endangered listing. FWS considered the mussels to be threatened and Trump allowed the ruling to proceed.

The yellow lance freshwater mussels continue to face pollution threats from private water discharges, erosion, solid waste disposal, sewage treatment plants and other water facilities that scour the bottom of the rivers and disrupt the water's natural flow.

"Although most people have never even heard of them, freshwater mussels are the most endangered animals in North America. So it's great news that this one, the yellow lance, has been proposed for the Endangered Species Act protection that can ensure its survival," Center for Biological Diversity Senior Scientist Tierra Curry said.

The quality of water is best indicated by the health of mussels like the yellow lance freshwater mussels, according to Biological Diversity. These resources improve the quality of water by their presence in the water alone. While the southeastern part of the United States has more species of freshwater mussels compared to the other parts of the world, 75 percent of these resources is in danger, with 36 species already in extinction.

It is important to get the yellow lance freshwater mussels in the list of threatened species so that FWS can develop a recovery plan for the mussel. The move to have the mussel listed as a threatened species was already published in the Federal Register this week. The public was given 60 days to submit their comments or any information that will help the agency make a decision.

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