Riverfront Project Tracking All Mussels in Area
PADUCAH, KY - In a press release Friday, the City of Paducah clarified an AP news reports that was widely published in the area regarding several endangered mussels and the riverfront development project.
This release was written by Pam Spencer, Public Information Officer for the City:
The AP story about the mussels was a result of a legal notice that was posted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife about the proposed endangered status for a couple of mussel species (Neosho and Rabbitsfoot). This notice is a national notice from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and is not directly related to Paducah’s riverfront project. Notices like this one are issued for any creature that may be placed on the endangered species list.
Regarding Paducah’s project, here are some more facts:
The Fat Pocketbook mussel is the endangered one that has been physically found in our project area. However, the Biological Opinion that we have from Fish & Wildlife allows us to have a specified number of them in our project area. The mussel relocation is underway and less than 10 of the Fat Pocketbooks have been found. We are allowed about 76 of them.
Two other endangered species (Orangefoot Pimpleback and Pink Mucket) haven’t been found in our project area, but since they are often found in the lower Ohio River, we are allowed to have a specified number of them. So far divers haven’t found any, and they haven’t been found in the three years of monitoring for our project.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife expected three other mussel species to be added to the endangered list during the time our project was underway. One of those species (the Rabbitsfoot) is listed in the legal notice. Using good planning, Paducah has already structured the Biological Opinion to consider them as endangered (before they are officially listed) and have a specified number of them allowed as well. So far, they haven’t been found in our project area.
Here is the original AP story:
It’s just a coincidence that we have a national notice about an endangered species, which happens to be a mussel, at the same time we are undergoing mussel relocation.
A new mussel on the Endangered Species List has been found in the McCracken County area, but city officials say it will not affect Paducah riverfront development.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed adding the Rabbitsfoot mussel and the Neosho Mucket mussel to the list of protected species under the Endangered Species Act this week.
Paducah City Engineer-Public Works Director Rick Murphy told The Paducah Sun construction of the Ohio River Boat Ramp, slated to start in the spring, likely will not affect the mussels.
Construction on the Ohio River Boat Ramp was delayed when studies showed a collection of nearly 550 fat pocketbook mussels in the initially planned area for the ramp. The project was moved 500 feet downstream as a result.