U.S. Army Corps of Engineers employees perform a lot of interesting jobs related to the rivers we work on. But one of the most unusual jobs involves looking for an endangered species of fresh water mussels.
Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act requires all federal agencies to determine the effects their planned activities might have on threatened and endangered species. We make these determinations in close consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The fat pocketbook mussel that exists in the St. Francis River Basin is one of these species. On a regular basis, Memphis District biologists who are also trained divers perform surveys for the mussels to ensure our river work does not disturb any of the endangered mussels.
“Earlier this month Andrea Carpenter Crowther and I did a survey in the upper reaches of Ditch 251 in New Madrid County, Missouri,” Mike Thron, Memphis District Biologist said. “This was in preparation for a proposed channel cleanout in the St. Francis River Basin.
“Results of the survey thus far have shown a robust freshwater mussel community, but we did not encounter any threatened or endangered species in the area,” he added.
Thron said survey efforts will continue downstream to the end of the project area. If they do not encounter any threatened or endangered species, they will finalize their consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and proceed with construction.