Lawsuit Launched to Secure Critical Habitat for Florida Freshwater Mussel

image_print
suwannee moccasinshell USFWS FPWC.max 800x800 1 In: Lawsuit Launched to Secure Critical Habitat for Florida Freshwater Mussel | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Suwannee Moccasinshell. Photo by USFWS

 

We remember the surprise we felt when we first heard the concept of suing a state or federal agency for not doing its job.  That naivete has long since departed, but it is still with some animosity we consider that elected or appointed heads of agencies deliberately flout their mission to protect and conserve.

We understand that state and federal agencies are not run by the people but by industry (read money) which rules all.

Also long ago we learned that all is not just in the world and life is not  fair.

This animal species will be directly threatened by HPSII mining activities if the FDEP gives them a mining permit.  Chemours’ mining operations currently have a potential threat in one area of the upper Santa Fe River.

Thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity and other like groups to at least make it harder for money-hungry planet destroyers to harm our planet and its living creatures.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
[email protected]
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum


cbd press header.a3d7726d6e35 In: Lawsuit Launched to Secure Critical Habitat for Florida Freshwater Mussel | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

For Immediate Release, January 12, 2021

Contact: Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190, [email protected]

Lawsuit Launched to Secure Critical Habitat for Florida Freshwater Mussel

Suwannee Moccasinshell Threatened by Pollution, Phosphate Mine

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal notice today of its intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the agency’s failure to designate critical habitat for the Suwannee moccasinshell, found in north Florida.

The moccasinshell was feared extinct but rediscovered in the Suwannee, Upper Santa Fe and Withlacoochee rivers. The Center filed a scientific petition to list the 2-inch mollusk under the Endangered Species Act in 2010 and followed up with several lawsuits to force decisions leading to the moccasinshell’s protection.

The Service proposed designating more than 100 miles of rivers as critical habitat over a year ago, but has now missed the deadline to finalize the designation.

“Florida’s freshwater mussels are quirky and cool, but they are also harmed by our land and water-use decisions,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director of the Center. “Critical habitat will help protect the rivers the Suwannee moccasinshell calls home.”

With only 25 species protected as threatened or endangered, delay and denial of habitat protections and significant regulatory rollbacks, the Trump administration has the worst record protecting species of any administration since Congress passed the Endangered Species Act.

The Act prohibits federal agencies from authorizing activities that will destroy or harm a listed species’ critical habitat. Species with federally protected critical habitat are more than twice as likely to be recovering as those without it.

Earlier this year the Center filed suit in Washington, D.C. over more than 200 species awaiting decisions about their protection. In addition to the Suwannee moccasinshell in today’s notice, the Center plans to initiate lawsuits for another 20 species waiting for listing and 88 species waiting for designation of critical habitat. Further, the Center hopes to work out a schedule with the Biden administration to ensure these species from across the country get protection and avoid extinction.

The Suwannee moccasinshell attracts darter fish with a flashy, blue wiggling lure, then shoots its fertilized eggs into the fishes’ gills. The fish swim away, and the mussel’s offspring eventually drop off onto the river bottom. An increase in agricultural irrigation has lowered the Upper Floridan aquifer near the Suwannee River Basin, severely threatening the mussel by depleting and polluting the waters in the rivers that sustain it. A proposed phosphate mine also threatens river habitat in Bradford and Union counties.

suwannee_moccasinshell_USFWS_FPWC.jpg
Suwannee moccasinshell. Photo courtesy USFWS. Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

cbd press footer.324456daac40 In: Lawsuit Launched to Secure Critical Habitat for Florida Freshwater Mussel | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. (OSFR) | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida
Back to top
Skip to content