U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeks comment on draft plan to conserve rare mussels
From press release
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking public input on a draft plan that would address potential impacts from Quad Cities Nuclear Station to two at-risk species in the Upper Mississippi River near Cordova, Ill.the federally-endangered Higgins eye pearly mussel and the sheepnose mussel, a candidate for the Endangered Species Act listing.
The draft plan was prepared by the station and its parent company Exelon, with input from the Service. It describes measures to be taken by the Quad Cities plant to minimize and mitigate effects of its actions on federally-listed endangered mussels and other rare mussels. Exelon developed the plan in conjunction with an application for an incidental take permit. Incidental take permits may be issued under the federal Endangered Species Act to parties undertaking otherwise lawful projects that might result in the takingdefined as harming, pursuit, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or collectingof an endangered or threatened species. Application for an incidental take permit is subject to certain requirements, including preparation by the permit application of a habitat conservation plan or HCP.
An HCP lays out ways the applicant plans to minimize or mitigate the effects of activities on listed species; it may also include measures to maintain, enhance and protect a habitat type needed by an endangered or threatened species. HCP measures might include provisions for permanently protecting land, restoring habitat, and relocating plants or animals to another area.
The draft Quad Cities HCP addresses three of the station’s activities and their impacts on the mussels: the proposed change in temperature standards for discharge waters associated with the operation of the Quad Cities Nuclear Station; maintenance dredging near the plant’s water intake structures; and the possible removal of Edison Pier.
Exelon proposes to minimize, mitigate, and monitor the impacts of taking listed species by reintroducing Higgins eye and sheepnose mussels; encouraging universities to conduct studies related to temperature and mussels; and monitoring, including mussel bed monitoring, monitoring of temperature studies, long-term fish monitoring, and use of adaptive management techniques.
The draft plan is available for public review and comment until Oct. 8, 2009, at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/permits/hcp/index.html.
Comments may be addressed to Richard C. Nelson, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rock Island Field Office, 1511 47th Ave., Moline, IL 61265; Fax number: (309) 757-5807. For more information, contact Jody Millar, (309) 757-5800, ext. 202.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is known for scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information, visit www.fws.gov.
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