[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 58 (Wednesday, March 26, 2003)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 14751-14832]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-6903]



[[Page 14751]]

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Part II





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service



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50 CFR Part 17



Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Designation of 
Critical Habitat for Three Threatened Mussels and Eight Endangered 
Mussels in the Mobile River Basin; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 68, No. 58 / Wednesday, March 26, 2003 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 14752]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AI73


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Designation of Critical Habitat for Three Threatened Mussels and Eight 
Endangered Mussels in the Mobile River Basin

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose 
designation of critical habitat for three threatened (fine-lined 
pocketbook, orange-nacre mucket, and Alabama moccasinshell) and eight 
endangered freshwater mussels (Coosa moccasinshell, ovate clubshell, 
southern clubshell, dark pigtoe, southern pigtoe, triangular 
kidneyshell, southern acornshell, and upland combshell), listed in 1993 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We propose 
to designate 26 river and stream segments (units) in the Mobile River 
Basin as critical habitat for these 11 mussel species. These units 
encompass a total of approximately 1,760 kilometers (km) (1,093 miles 
(mi)) of river and stream channels. Proposed critical habitat includes 
portions of the Tombigbee River drainage in Mississippi and Alabama; 
portions of the Black Warrior River drainage in Alabama; portions of 
the Alabama River drainage in Alabama; portions of the Cahaba River 
drainage in Alabama; portions of the Tallapoosa River drainage in 
Alabama and Georgia; and portions of the Coosa River drainage in 
Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.
    Critical habitat identifies specific areas that are essential to 
the conservation of a listed species, and that may require special 
management considerations or protection. If this proposal is made 
final, section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires that Federal agencies ensure 
that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of an endangered or threatened 
species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. State or private actions, with no Federal 
involvement, are not affected.
    Section 4 of the Act requires us to consider the economic and other 
relevant impacts of specifying any area as critical habitat. We hereby 
solicit data and comments from the public on all aspects of this 
proposal, including data on the economic and other impacts of the 
designation. We will conduct an analysis of the economic impacts of 
designating these areas as critical habitat prior to a final 
determination. That economic analysis will be conducted in a manner 
that is consistent with the ruling of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals 
in N.M. Cattle Growers Ass'n v. USFWS. When the draft economic analysis 
is completed, we will announce its availability with a notice in the 
Federal Register. With publication of the notice of availability, a 
comment period will be opened for a minimum of 30 days to allow for 
public comments on the draft economic analysis and proposed rule 
concurrently.

DATES: We will consider comments received by June 24, 2003. We must 
receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown 
in the ADDRESSES section by May 12, 2003.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to submit comments and information, you may 
submit your comments and information by any one of several methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, 
Suite A, Jackson, MS 39213.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments and information to our 
Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Office, at the above address, or fax your 
comments to 601/965-4340.
    3. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to [email protected]. For directions on how to submit electronic filing of 
comments, see the ``Public Comments Solicited'' section.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Hartfield at the above address 
(telephone 601/321-1125, facsimile 601/965-4340).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    This proposed rule addresses 11 bivalve mollusks or mussels 
(possessing a soft body enclosed by 2 shells) in the family Unionidae 
that are native to the Mobile River basin. The mussels addressed in 
this rule are the threatened fine-lined pocketbook (Lampsilis altilis), 
orange-nacre mucket (Lampsilis perovalis), and Alabama moccasinshell 
(Medionidus acutissimus), and the endangered Coosa moccasinshell 
(Medionidus parvulus), southern clubshell (Pleurobema decisum), dark 
pigtoe (Pleurobema furvum), southern pigtoe (Pleurobema georgianum), 
ovate clubshell (Pleurobema perovatum), triangular kidneyshell 
(Ptychobranchus greeni), upland combshell (Epioblasma metastriata), and 
southern acornshell (Epioblasma othcaloogensis). Unionid mussels, in 
general, live embedded in the bottom (sand, gravel, and/or cobble 
substrates) of rivers, streams, and other bodies of water. These 
mussels siphon water into their shells and across four gills that are 
specialized for respiration and food collection. Sexes in unionid 
mussels are usually separate. Males release sperm into the water; the 
sperm are then taken in by the females through their siphons during 
feeding and respiration. Eggs are held in the gills of the female where 
they come into contact with the sperm. Once eggs are fertilized, 
females retain them in their gills until the larvae (glochidia) fully 
develop. The change (metamorphosis) of the larvae of most unionid 
species into juvenile mussels requires that the larvae undergo a stage 
of parasitism on the fins, gills, or skin of a fish. Mature mussel 
glochidia are released into the water and they must find and attach to 
a suitable host fish species in order to develop into a juvenile 
mussel. Glochidia may be released separately or in masses termed 
conglutinates. The duration of the parasitic stage varies with water 
temperature, mussel species, and, perhaps, host fish species. Developed 
juvenile mussels normally detach from their fish host and sink to the 
stream bottom, where they continue to develop, provided they land in a 
suitable substrate with correct water conditions. Because of the 
dependence on this life stage and transport/dispersal process, unionid 
mussels usually only parasitize one or a few suitable host fish species 
that occupy similar habitats as the mussels. Consequently, the presence 
of suitable host fish species is considered an essential element in the 
life cycle of unionid mussels.
    These 11 mussel species are historically native to portions of the 
Mobile River Basin (Basin). The Basin is composed of seven major river 
systems (Mobile, Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Alabama, Cahaba, Coosa, and 
Tallapoosa) and drains portions of the states of Alabama, Mississippi, 
Georgia, and Tennessee. Biological factors relevant to these freshwater 
mussels' habitat requisites are discussed in the Primary Constituent 
Elements portion of this proposed rule.

[[Page 14753]]

Taxonomy, Life History, and Distribution

Fine-Lined Pocketbook (Lampsilis altilis (Conrad 1834))

    The fine-lined pocketbook is a medium-sized mussel, suboval in 
shape, and rarely exceeds 100 millimeters (mm) (4 inches (in)) in 
length. The ventral margin (bottom) of the shell is often angled 
posteriorly in females, resulting in a pointed posterior margin. The 
periostracum (skin of the shell) is yellow-brown to blackish and has 
fine rays on the posterior half. The nacre (shell interior) is white, 
becoming iridescent posteriorly.
    Gravid females (females with larvae) have been observed March 
through June. Fine-lined pocketbooks have also been observed releasing 
glochidia in a single large conglutinate (Haag et al., 1999), termed a 
superconglutinate (Haag et al., 1995). Redeye bass (Micropterus coosa), 
spotted bass (M. puctulatus), largemouth bass (M. salmoides), and green 
sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) have been identified as suitable hosts 
(Haag et al., 1999).
    The fine-lined pocketbook was historically reported from the 
Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Cahaba, Alabama, Tallapoosa, and Coosa Rivers 
and many of their tributaries in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and 
Tennessee. The species has apparently disappeared from the Tombigbee 
and Alabama River drainages, and possibly from the Black Warrior River 
drainage. Since publication of the final rule listing the fine-lined 
pocketbook, this mussel continues to survive in the upper Cahaba River 
and the Little Cahaba River (Jefferson/Shelby/Bibb Counties, Alabama); 
Coosa River (Cherokee County, Alabama) and its tributaries, including 
Duck Creek (Walker County, Georgia), Euharlee Creek (Bartow County, 
Georgia), Conasauga River (Murray/Whitfield County, Georgia; Polk 
County, Tennessee), and Holly Creek (Murray County, Georgia), Terrapin 
Creek, and South Fork Terrapin Creek (Cleburne County, Alabama); 
Yellowleaf Creek and its tributary Muddy Prong (Shelby County, 
Alabama); Kelly Creek and its tributary Shoal Creek (Shelby/St. Clair 
County, Alabama), Choccolocco Creek (Calhoun County, Alabama) and its 
tributaries Cheaha Creek (Talladega/Clay County, Alabama), Shoal Creek 
(Cleburne County, Alabama), Hatchet Creek (Coosa/Clay County, Alabama), 
and Tallasahatchee Creek (Talladega County, Alabama); and the 
Tallapoosa River and tributaries, including Uphapee Creek (Macon 
County, Alabama), Choctafaula Creek (Macon/Lee County, Alabama), 
Chewacla Creek (Macon/Lee County, Alabama), Opintlocco Creek (Macon 
County, Alabama), Cane and Little Cane Creeks (Cleburne County, 
Alabama), Muscadine Creek (Cleburne County, Alabama), Big Creek 
(Haralson County, GA), and McClendon Creek (Paulding County, Georgia). 
Populations are small and localized within these streams (Dodd et al., 
1986; Evans, 2001; Feminella and Gangloff, 2000; Haag et al., 1999; 
Herod et al., 2001; E. Irwin, U.S. Geological Survey, in litt. 2000; 
Irwin et al., 1998; Johnson and Evans, 2000; L. McDougal, U.S. Forest 
Service, in litt. 1994; McGregor, M. 1993; McGregor et al. 2000; 
Pierson, 1991a, 1992b, 1993; Shepard et al., 1994; Williams and Hughes 
1998).
Orange-nacre Mucket (Lampsilis perovalis (Conrad 1834))
    The orange-nacre mucket is a medium-sized mussel, 50 to 90 mm (2.0 
to 3.6 in) in length. The shell is oval in shape, moderately thick, and 
inflated. The posterior margin of the shell of mature females is 
obliquely truncate (shortened). The nacre is usually colored orange, 
rose, pink, or occasionally white. The periostracum varies from yellow 
to dark reddish brown, and with or without green rays.
    The orange-nacre mucket expels mature glochidia in a single 
superconglutinate (Haag et al. 1995). Discharge of superconglutinates 
has been observed between March and June, with releases appearing 
concentrated in early April (Hartfield and Butler 1997). Redeye bass, 
spotted bass, and largemouth bass have been identified as suitable host 
fish for the orange-nacre mucket (Haag and Warren 1997).
    The orange-nacre mucket was historically known from the Alabama, 
Tombigbee, Black Warrior, and Cahaba Rivers and their tributaries in 
Alabama and Mississippi. The species has disappeared from the mainstem 
Tombigbee, Black Warrior, and Alabama Rivers, but continues to survive 
in Tombigbee tributaries, including the Buttahatchee River (Lowndes/
Monroe County, Mississippi; Lamar County, Alabama), and East Fork 
Tombigbee River (Itawamba/Monroe County, Mississippi), Luxapalila Creek 
and tributaries Yellow Creek (Monroe County, Mississippi; Lamar County, 
Alabama) and Cut Bank Creek (Lamar County, Alabama), Sipsey River 
(Greene/Pickens/Tuscaloosa County, Alabama), Coalfire, Lubbub, and 
Trussels Creeks (Pickens County, Alabama); Black Warrior River 
tributaries, including North River (Tuscaloosa/Fayette County, Alabama) 
and its tributary Clear Creek (Fayette County, Alabama), Locust and 
Blackburn Forks of the Black Warrior River (Blount County, Alabama), 
Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior (Winston/Lawrence County, Alabama) and 
tributaries Thompson, Flannagin, and Borden Creeks (Lawrence County, 
Alabama), and Caney, North Fork Caney, Brushy, Capsey, Rush, Brown, and 
Beech Creeks (Winston/Lawrence County, Alabama); Cahaba River (Bibb/
Jefferson/Shelby County, Alabama) and Little Cahaba River (Bibb/Shelby 
County, Alabama); and Alabama River tributaries Limestone Creek (Monroe 
County, Alabama) and Bogue Chitto Creek (Dallas County, Alabama). The 
orange-nacre mucket is locally common in the Sipsey Fork and several of 
its tributaries. All other populations are small and localized (Alabama 
Malacological Research Center, in litt., 1996; Dodd et al. 1986; Haag 
and Warren 2001; Hartfield and Bowker 1992; Hartfield and Jones 1989, 
1990; Jones 1991; Jones and Majure 1999; McGregor 1992; McGregor et al. 
1996; McGregor 2000; McGregor et al. 2000; McGregor and Pierson 1999; 
McGregor and Haag in prep.; Miller 2000; MS Museum of Natural Science 
collection records 1989-1999; Pierson 1991a, b, 1992a; Shepard et al. 
1998; Vittor and Associates 1993; Warren and Haag 1994; Yokley 2001).
Alabama Moccasinshell (Medionidus acutissimus (Lea 1831))
    The Alabama moccasinshell is a small, delicate species, 
approximately 30 mm (1.2 in) in length. The shell is narrowly 
elliptical, and thin, with a well-developed acute posterior ridge that 
terminates in an acute point on the posterior ventral margin. The 
posterior slope is finely corrugated. The periostracum is yellow to 
brownish yellow, with broken green rays across the entire surface of 
the shell. The thin nacre is translucent along the margins and salmon-
colored in the umbos (beak cavity).
    Alabama moccasinshell females are gravid from October to June. This 
species lives completely embedded in stream bottoms for most of the 
year. Gravid females migrate to the surface of the stream bottom 
between March and June, anchor themselves to gravel by a bysal thread 
(protein thread), and lie exposed, displaying a black mantle lure 
apparently to attract potential host fish (P. Hartfield pers. obs. 
1994; Haag and Warren 2001). Blackspotted topminnows (Fundulus 
olivaceus), Tuskaloosa darter (Etheostoma douglasi), redfin darter (E. 
whipplei), blackbanded darter (Percina nigrofaciata), naked sand darter

[[Page 14754]]

(Ammocrypta beani), southern sand darter (A. meridiana), johnny darter 
(E. nigrum), speckled darter (E. stigmaeum), saddleback darter (Percina 
vigil), and logperch (P. caprodes) have been identified as suitable 
host fish (Haag and Warren 1997, 2001).
    The Alabama moccasinshell was historically known from the Alabama, 
Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Cahaba, and Coosa Rivers and their 
tributaries in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. The 
species has disappeared from the mainstems of all of these rivers, but 
continues to survive in Tombigbee River tributaries, including Bull 
Mountain Creek (Itawamba County, Mississippi), Luxapalila Creek 
(Lowndes County, Mississippi) and tributary Yellow Creek (Lowndes 
County, Mississippi; Lamar County, Alabama), Buttahatchee River 
(Lowndes/Monroe County, Mississippi, Lamar County, Alabama), and 
tributary Sipsey Creek (Monroe County, Mississippi), Lubbub Creek 
(Pickens County, Alabama), and Sipsey River (Greene/Pickens County, 
Alabama); Black Warrior River tributaries, including the Sipsey Fork 
and tributaries (Winston/Lawrence County, Alabama); and Holly Creek 
(Murray County, Georgia) in the Coosa River drainage (Dodd et al.1986; 
Evans 2001; Hartfield and Bowker 1992; Hartfield and Jones 1989, 1990; 
Johnson and Evans 2000; Jones 1991; Jones and Majure 1999; McGregor 
1992; McGregor et al. 1996; McGregor 2000; McGregor et al. 2000; MS 
Museum of Natural Science collection record 1984-2001; Pierson 1991a, 
b; Warren and Haag 1994; Yokley 2001). Except for the Sipsey Fork, 
populations are small and localized. Highest densities observed during 
field surveys have been from the Sipsey Fork and its headwater 
tributaries in Bankhead National Forest, where quantitative samples 
from selected sites estimated Alabama moccasinshells densities from 0 
to 2.8/10 m2 (Warren and Haag 1994).
Coosa Moccasinshell (Medionidus parvulus (Lea 1860))
    The Coosa moccasinshell is a small species occasionally exceeding 
40 mm (1.6 in) in length. The shell is thin and fragile, elongate and 
elliptical to rhomboidal in outline. The posterior ridge is inflated 
and smoothly rounded, terminating in a broadly rounded point; the 
posterior slope is finely corrugated. The periostracum is yellow-brown 
to dark brown and has fine green rays. The nacre is blue, occasionally 
with salmon-colored spots.
    Coosa moccasinshells are usually completely buried in the stream 
bottom. Because this species is apparently closely related to the 
Alabama moccasinshell, gravid females of this species likely migrate to 
the surface of the stream bottom during spring glochidial release 
periods, as do gravid Alabama moccasinshell females. Coosa 
moccasinshell glochidia are known to use blackbanded darters as hosts; 
however, other species of darters are also likely to be used (P. 
Johnson, Tennessee Aquarium Research Institute, pers. comm. 2002).
    The Coosa moccasinshell has been historically reported from the 
Cahaba River, the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River, and the Coosa 
River, and their tributaries, in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Since 
the species was listed, its presence has been confirmed only in the 
Conasauga River (Murray/Whitfield County, Georgia; Bradley County, 
Tennessee), and its tributary, Holly Creek (Murray County, Georgia) 
(Johnson and Evans, 2000, Williams and Hughes 1998). It has apparently 
been eliminated from the Cahaba and Black Warrior River drainages, as 
well as from the Coosa River and many of its tributaries.
Ovate Clubshell (Pleurobema perovatum (Conrad 1834))
    The ovate clubshell is a small to medium-sized mussel that rarely 
exceeds 50 mm (2.0 in) in length. The shell is oval to elliptical in 
shape, and has nearly terminal, inflated umbos. The posterior ridge is 
well-developed, broadly rounded, and often concave. The posterior slope 
is produced well beyond the posterior ridge. Periostracum color varies 
from yellow to dark brown, and occasionally has broad green rays that 
may cover most of the umbo and posterior ridge. The nacre is white. 
Gravid females of this species have been observed in June and July. 
Glochidia are released in well formed, white conglutinates (W.R. Haag 
unpublished data). Host fishes for this species are unknown.
    The ovate clubshell was historically distributed in the Tombigbee, 
Black Warrior, Alabama, Cahaba, and Coosa Rivers and their tributaries 
in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee; and in Chewacla, 
Uphapee and Opintlocco Creeks in the Tallapoosa River drainage, 
Alabama. It has disappeared from the Black Warrior, Cahaba, and Alabama 
River drainages, as well as the mainstem Tombigbee River and Uphapee 
and Opintlocco Creeks. Currently, the species is known to survive in 
several Tombigbee River tributaries, including Buttahatchee River 
(Lowndes/Monroe County, Mississippi), Luxapalila Creek and its 
tributary Yellow Creek (Lowndes County, Mississippi), Sipsey River 
(Greene/Pickens/Tuscaloosa County, Alabama), Sucarnoochee River (Sumter 
County, Alabama), and Coalfire Creek (Pickens County, Alabama); and 
Chewacla Creek (Macon County, Alabama) in the Tallapoosa River 
drainage; and a short reach of the Coosa River below the mouth of 
Terrapin Creek (Cherokee County, Alabama) (Dodd et al. 1986, Feminella 
and Gangloff 2000, Hartfield and Bowker 1992, Hartfield and Jones 1990, 
Jones 1991, McGregor 1992, McGregor 1993, McGregor et al. 1996, 
McGregor 2000, McGregor and Haag in prep., Miller 2000, Pierson, 1991a, 
b; Yokley 2001). Populations are small and localized.
Southern Clubshell (Pleurobema decisum (Lea 1831))
    The southern clubshell is a medium sized mussel about 70 mm (2.8 
in) long, with a thick shell, and heavy hinge plate and teeth. The 
shell outline is roughly rectangular, produced posteriorly with the 
umbos terminal with the anterior margin, or nearly so. The posterior 
ridge is moderately inflated and ends abruptly with little development 
of the posterior slope at the dorsum of the shell. The periostracum is 
yellow to yellow-brown with occasional green rays or spots on the umbo 
in young specimens.
    Gravid southern clubshell females with mature glochidia have been 
collected in June and July. Glochidia are released in well formed 
conglutinates orange or white in coloration (Haag and Warren 2001). 
Blacktail shiner (Cyprinella venusta), Alabama shiner (C. callistia), 
and tricolor shiner (C. trichroistia) have been identified as fish host 
(Haag and Warren 2001, P. Johnson pers. comm. 2002).
    With the exception of the Tensas/Mobile River, the southern 
clubshell was formerly known from every major river system in the 
Mobile River Basin, including the Alabama, Tombigbee, Black Warrior, 
Cahaba, Tallapoosa, and Coosa Rivers and many of their tributaries in 
Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. This species has 
disappeared from the Cahaba River drainage, the main channels of the 
Tombigbee and Black Warrior Rivers, and from a number of tributaries in 
all of the drainages. Southern clubshell continues to inhabit the East 
Fork Tombigbee River (Itawamba/Monroe County, Mississippi), Bull 
Mountain Creek (Itawamba County, Mississippi), Buttahatchee River 
(Monroe/Lowndes County, Mississippi), Luxapalila and Yellow Creeks 
(Lowndes County, Mississippi), Lubbub Creek (Pickens County, Alabama), 
and Sipsey River

[[Page 14755]]

(Greene/Pickens/Tuscaloosa County, Alabama) in the Tombigbee drainage; 
a short reach of the Alabama River and Bogue Chitto Creek (Dallas 
County, Alabama); Chewacla Creek (Macon County, Alabama) in the 
Tallapoosa drainage; Coosa River (Dead River) below Weiss Dam (Cherokee 
County, Alabama) and tributaries Kelly Creek (Shelby County, Alabama), 
Big Canoe Creek (St. Clair County, Alabama), Terrapin Creek (Cherokee 
County, Alabama), and Conasauga River (Murray/Whitfield County, 
Georgia) (Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources/U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service collection records, 1998, 1999; Evans 2001; 
Feminella and Gangloff 2000; Hartfield and Bowker 1992; Hartfield and 
Jones 1989, 1990; Herod et al. 2001; Jones 1991; Jones and Majure 1999; 
McGregor 1993, 1999; McGregor et al. 1996; Miller 2000; Miller and 
Hartfield, 1988; Pierson, 1991a, b; Yokley 2001). The southern 
clubshell is relatively common in localized reaches of the Buttahatchee 
and Sipsey Rivers. Average density at four sites in the Coosa River 
below Weiss Dam was 0.19/square meter (Herod et al. 2001). It is rare 
to uncommon in other occupied streams.
Dark Pigtoe (Pleurobema furvum (Conrad 1834))
    The dark pigtoe is a small to medium-sized mussel, occasionally 
reaching 60 mm (2.4 in) in length. The shell is oval in outline, and 
moderately inflated. Beaks are located in the anterior portion of the 
shell. The posterior ridge is abruptly rounded and terminates in a 
broadly rounded, subcentral, posterior point. The periostracum is dark, 
reddish brown with numerous and closely spaced, dark growth lines. The 
hinge plate is wide and the teeth are heavy and large, especially in 
older specimens. The nacre approaches white in the umbos, and is highly 
iridescent on the posterior margin. This species is gravid in June and 
releases glochidia in peach to pink-colored conglutinates (Haag and 
Warren 1997). The largescale stoneroller (Campostoma oligolepis), 
Alabama shiner, blacktail shiner, creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus), 
and blackspotted topminnow have been confirmed as suitable hosts (Haag 
and Warren 1997).
    The historic distribution of the dark pigtoe was probably 
restricted to the Black Warrior River system above the fall line 
(natural contour that marks a drop in land level). Since listing, the 
presence of the dark pigtoe has been confirmed in the Black Warrior 
River drainage from Sipsey Fork and its tributaries Caney, Brown, Rush, 
and Capsey Creeks (Winston/Lawrence County, Alabama); and from the 
North River and its tributary Clear Creek (Fayette County, Alabama) 
(Alabama Malacological Research Center, in litt., 1996; Dodd et al. 
1986; McGregor 1992; Pierson 1992a; Shepard et al. 1998; Vittor and 
Associates 1993; Warren and Haag 1994). Badly weathered shells have 
also been found in the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River near the 
Jefferson-Blount County line. Populations are small and localized. 
Highest densities measured during field surveys have been from the 
Sipsey Fork and its headwater tributaries in Bankhead National Forest, 
where quantitative samples from selected sites estimated dark pigtoe 
densities from 0 to 4.8/10 m2 (Warren and Haag 1994).
Southern Pigtoe (Pleurobema georgianum (Lea 1841))
    The southern pigtoe is a small to medium-sized mussel occasionally 
exceeding 60 mm (2.4 in) in length. The shell is elliptical to oval in 
outline and somewhat compressed. The posterior slope is smoothly 
rounded. The pseudocardinal teeth (protrusions on the dorsal interior 
surface of the shell) are small but well-developed, and the nacre is 
white. The periostracum is yellow to yellow-brown. Growth lines are 
numerous and may be dark brown. Small specimens may have green spots at 
the growth lines along the posterior ridge and near the umbo. Host fish 
are Alabama shiner, blacktail shiner, and tricolor shiner (P. Johnson 
pers. comm. 2002).
    The historic range of the southern pigtoe included the Coosa River 
and its tributaries in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. The species is 
currently known to survive in the Conasauga River (Murray/Whitfield 
County, Georgia, Bradley County, Tennessee), Holly Creek (Murray 
County, Georgia), Shoal Creek (Cleburne County, Alabama), Big Canoe 
Creek (St. Clair County, Alabama), and Cheaha Creek (Talladega County, 
Alabama) (Evans 2001, Feminella and Gangloff 2000, Johnson and Evans, 
2000; Pierson 1992b, 1993; Williams and Hughes 1998). Populations are 
small and localized.
Triangular Kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus greeni (Conrad 1834))
    The triangular kidneyshell is oval to elliptical in outline, and 
may approach 100 mm (4.0 in) in length. The shell is generally 
compressed, and may be flattened ventral to the umbos. The posterior 
ridge is broadly rounded and terminates in a broad round point post-
ventrally. The pseudocardinal teeth are heavy, and the laterals are 
heavy, gently curved and short. The periostracum is straw-yellow in 
young specimens, but becomes yellow-brown in older ones. It may have 
fine and wavy, or wide and broken, green rays anterior to the posterior 
ridge.
    Gravid triangular kidneyshell females were observed in March 1994 
and April 1996. Glochidia are packaged into conglutinates that mimic 
small aquatic fly larvae (Hartfield and Hartfield 1996) or fish eggs 
(Haag and Warren 1997). Suitable fish hosts have been identified as 
Warrior darter (Etheostoma bellator), Tuskaloosa darter, blackbanded 
darter and logperch (Haag and Warren 1997).
    The historic range of the triangular kidneyshell included the Black 
Warrior, Cahaba, Alabama, and Coosa Rivers and tributaries in Alabama, 
Georgia, and Tennessee. The species has disappeared from the Alabama 
River, and from the primary channels of the Black Warrior and Coosa 
Rivers. Triangular kidneyshell is currently known to inhabit the Sipsey 
Fork and tributaries (Winston/Lawrence County, Alabama) and Locust Fork 
(Blount County, Alabama) of the Black Warrior; Cahaba River (Bibb 
County, Alabama); and Coosa tributaries Shoal Creek (Cleburne County, 
Alabama), Kelly Creek (Shelby County, Alabama), Big Canoe Creek (St. 
Clair County, Alabama), Conasauga River (Murray/Whitfield County, 
Georgia, Bradley County, Tennessee), Holly Creek (Murray County, 
Georgia), Coosawattee River (Gordon County, Georgia), and Oostanaula 
River (Floyd/Gordon County, Georgia). Populations are small and 
localized (Dodd et al. 1986, Evans 2001, Feminella and Gangloff 2000, 
Haag and Warren 1997, Johnson and Evans 2000, McGregor 1992, McGregor 
et al. 2000, Shepard et al. 1994, 1998; Warren and Haag 1994, Williams 
and Hughes 1998).
Southern Acornshell (Epioblasma othcaloogensis (Lea 1857))
    The southern acornshell is a small mussel that may grow up to 30 mm 
(1.2 in) in shell length. The shells are round to oval in outline and 
sexually dimorphic, with a swollen posterior ridge in females. The 
periostracum is smooth, shiny, and yellow in color. Life history and 
host fish are unknown.
    Historically, the southern acornshell occurred in the upper Coosa 
River system and the Cahaba River above the fall line in Alabama, 
Georgia, and Tennessee. The most recent records for the southern 
acornshell were from tributaries of the Coosa River in the early 1970s, 
and the Cahaba in the 1930s (58 FR 14330). It was our determination at 
the time of listing, with

[[Page 14756]]

consensus of the malacological (mollusk research) community, that this 
species was likely to persist in low numbers in the upper Coosa River 
drainage, and possibly in the Cahaba River. Surveys of Coosa River 
tributaries have been conducted by Service biologists, as well as Bogan 
and Pierson (1993a), Evans (2001), Feminella and Gangloff (2000), 
Johnson and Evans (2000), Pierson (1993, pers. comm. 1994), Williams 
and Hughes (1998), and others. Surveys of the Cahaba River have been 
conducted by Service biologists, Bogan and Pierson (1993b), McGregor et 
al. (2000), Shepard et al. (1994, 1998), and others. Despite these 
repeated surveys of historic habitat in the Coosa and Cahaba River 
drainages, no living animals or fresh shells of this species have been 
located in recent years (Evans 2001, Feminella and Gangloff 2000, 
Johnson and Evans 2000, McGregor et al. 2000, Pierson 1993, Shepard et 
al. 1994, 1998, Williams and Hughes 1998). Not withstanding the results 
of these surveys, this species' historic range includes thousands of 
miles of river and stream habitat in the Mobile River Basin, and there 
are many miles of stream which have not been adequately surveyed. 
Mussels are cryptic species, living buried in the stream bottom under 
water, and rare mussels are difficult to locate.
Upland Combshell (Epioblasma metastriata (Conrad 1838))
    The upland combshell is a bivalve mollusk that rarely exceeds 60 mm 
(2.4 in) in length. The shells are rhomboidal to quadrate in outline 
and are sexually dimorphic. Males are moderately inflated with a 
broadly curved posterior ridge. Females are considerably inflated, with 
a sharply elevated posterior ridge that swells broadly post-ventrally 
forming a well-developed sulcus (the groove anterior to the posterior 
ridge). The posterior margin of the female is broadly rounded and comes 
to a point anterior to the posterior extreme. Periostracum color varies 
from yellowish-brown to tawny, and may or may not have broken green 
rays or small green spots. Hinge teeth are well-developed and heavy. 
This species likely releases glochidia during late spring or early 
summer (Service 2000). The host fish for this species have not been 
identified.
    The historic range of the upland combshell included portions of the 
Black Warrior, Cahaba, and Coosa Rivers of the Mobile River Basin and 
some of their tributaries in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. The most 
recent records for the upland combshell were from the Conasauga River, 
Georgia, in 1988, and from the Cahaba River, Alabama, in the early 
1970s (58 FR 14330). When listed, the species was believed to be 
restricted to the Conasauga River in Georgia, and possibly portions of 
the upper Black Warrior and Cahaba River drainages. Surveys of Coosa 
River tributaries have been conducted by Service biologists, as well as 
Bogan and Pierson (1993a), Evans (2001), Feminella and Gangloff (2000), 
Johnson and Evans (2000), Pierson (1993, pers. comm. 1994), Williams 
and Hughes (1998), and others. Surveys of the Cahaba River have been 
conducted by Service biologists, Bogan and Pierson (1993b), McGregor et 
al. (2000), Shepard et al. (1994), and others. Surveys in the upper 
Black Warrior drainage have been done by Service biologists, Alabama 
Malacological Research Center, (in litt. 1996), Sheppard et al. (1998), 
Vittor and Associates (1993), Warren and Haag (1994), and others. 
However, these surveys of the Conasauga River and other historic 
habitat in the Coosa, Cahaba, and Black Warrior River drainages since 
the mussel was listed have failed to locate any evidence of the upland 
combshell (Evans 2001, Feminella and Gangloff 2000, Johnson and Evans 
2000, McGregor 1992, McGregor et al. 2000, Pierson 1991a, Shepard et 
al. 1994, 1998, Vittor and Associates 1993, Warren and Haag 1994, 
Williams and Hughes 1998). Not withstanding the results of these 
surveys, this species' historic range includes thousands of miles of 
river and stream habitat in the Mobile River Basin, and there are many 
miles of stream which have not been adequately surveyed. Mussels are 
cryptic species, living buried in the stream bottom under water, and 
rare mussels are difficult to locate.
    The summary of these 11 mussel species, presented above, represents 
our current understanding of their historic and current range and 
distribution. There has been some confusion in species identification 
in recent reports. For example, some survey reports have identified 
mussel populations from Black Warrior River tributaries, Cahaba River, 
and Bogue Chitto Creek as fine-lined pocketbook, while others have 
identified the same populations as orange-nacre mucket. Although there 
may be some overlap in these species' current ranges, we believe that 
this confusion originated from collectors unfamiliar with one or both 
species. There is also some confusion surrounding recently rediscovered 
populations of clubshell in the Coosa River drainage. Some biologists 
believe these populations may include painted clubshell (Pleurobema 
chattanoogaense), a form that we considered the same as southern 
clubshell (Pleurobema decisum) in the March 17, 1993, final rule 
listing for these 11 mussels (58 FR 14330). There is some morphological 
evidence that recognition of painted clubshell as a species may be 
warranted, however, recent genetic studies were unable to discriminate 
between the 2 forms. Therefore, at this time, we consider populations 
of clubshell in the Coosa River drainage to be southern clubshell. The 
distributions presented above, are based upon shell morphology as 
described and currently recognized in the scientific literature. 
Therefore, we will consider these species' current ranges as outlined 
above, until presented with new information.

Summary of Decline and Threats to Surviving Populations

    The disappearance of these 11 mussel species from significant 
portions of their ranges is primarily due to changes in river and 
stream channels caused by dams, dredging, or mining, and historic or 
episodic pollution events (58 FR 14330). More than 1,700 km (1,100 mi) 
of large and small river habitat in the Basin have been impounded by 
dams for navigation, flood control, water supply, and/or hydroelectric 
production purposes. None of the 11 species are known to survive in 
impounded waters. Riverine mussels are killed during construction of 
dams, they may be suffocated by sediments that accumulate behind the 
dams; and the reduced water flow behind dams limits food and oxygen 
available to mussels. Many fish species that serve as hosts to mussel 
larvae are also eliminated by dams and impounded waters.
    Other forms of habitat modification--such as channelization, 
channel clearing and desnagging (woody debris removal), and gold and 
gravel mining--caused stream bed scour and erosion, increased 
turbidity, reduction of groundwater levels, and sedimentation, often 
resulting in severe local impacts to, and even extirpation of, mussel 
species. Sedimentation may also eliminate or reduce recruitment of 
juvenile mussels (Negus 1966), and suspended sediments can also 
interfere with feeding (Dennis 1984).
    Water pollution from coal mines, carpet mills, fabric dying mills, 
large industrial plants, inadequately treated sewage, and land surface 
runoff also contributed to the demise of the species in certain 
portions of their historic ranges. Freshwater mussels, especially in 
their early life stages, are extremely

[[Page 14757]]

sensitive to many pollutants (e.g., chlorine, ammonia, heavy metals, 
high concentrations of nutrients) commonly found in municipal and 
industrial wastewater effluents (Havlik and Marking 1987, Goudreau et 
al. 1988, Keller and Zam 1991). Stream discharges from these sources 
may result in decreased dissolved oxygen concentration, increased 
acidity and conductivity, and other changes in water chemistry, which 
may impact mussels or their host fish.
    The historic activities discussed above, especially dam 
construction, had a second major impact on mussel species by isolating 
surviving populations within limited portions of the Basin's major 
drainages. The Mobile River Basin Aquatic Ecosystem Recovery Plan (U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service 2000) recognized habitat fragmentation as one 
of the primary threats to the Basin's imperiled aquatic species. Small 
isolated mussel populations are more vulnerable to natural random 
events, such as droughts or floods, as well as to changes in human 
activities and land use practices that impact aquatic habitats (Neves 
et al. 1997). A number of the Basin's imperiled mussel populations that 
became restricted to small tributaries or river segments eventually 
disappeared because of individual or cumulative impacts of land uses 
such as urbanization, industrialization, mining, and certain 
agricultural activities and practices that resulted in sedimentation, 
eutrophication (an aquatic condition in which the increase in mineral 
and organic nutrients reduces dissolved oxygen producing an environment 
that favors plant life over animal life), or other negative effects to 
stream and river habitats (58 FR 14330, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
2000).
    Human populations and associated needs for housing, commerce, 
recreation, water, electricity, forest and agricultural products, waste 
disposal, and mineral exploitation continue to increase in the Basin 
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2000). Currently surviving populations 
of endangered and threatened mussels remain vulnerable to habitat loss, 
population isolation, and the cumulative effects of these land use 
activities on aquatic environments (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
2000). More detailed information on threats to these species can be 
found in the March 17, 1993, final listing determination (58 FR 14330) 
and in the Mobile River Basin Aquatic Ecosystem Recovery Plan (U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service 2000).

Previous Federal Actions

    Federal actions began when the orange-nacre mucket was included as 
a category 2 species (May 22, 1984, 49 FR 21675). We applied category 2 
designations to those species for which some evidence of vulnerability 
existed, but for which we needed additional biological information to 
support a proposed rule to list as endangered or threatened. In the 
January 6, 1989, Notice of Review (54 FR 578-579), this species was 
again included as a category 2 species. In the same Notice of Review, 
the upland combshell, southern acornshell, and fine-lined pocketbook 
were additionally included as category 2 species. A status review 
completed in 1991 for these four species, and seven other mussels 
endemic to the Basin, recommended listing the upland combshell, 
southern acornshell, Coosa moccasinshell, southern clubshell, dark 
pigtoe, southern pigtoe, ovate clubshell, and triangular kidneyshell as 
endangered species, and the fine-lined pocketbook, orange-nacre mucket, 
and Alabama moccasinshell as threatened species (Hartfield 1991).
    We proposed the 11 mussel species for protection under the Act on 
November 19, 1991 (56 FR 58339). In that proposed rule, we stated that 
critical habitat was not prudent because of the threat of illegal 
commercial harvest. Legal notices announcing the proposal and 
requesting public comments were published in The Clarion-Ledger 
(Jackson, Mississippi) on December 6, 1991; the Mobile Press Register 
(Mobile, Alabama) on December 7, 1991; and The Atlanta Constitution 
(Atlanta, Georgia), the Commercial Dispatch (Columbus, Mississippi), 
and the Montgomery Advertiser (Montgomery, Alabama) on December 8, 
1991. We published a final rule on March 17, 1993 (58 FR 14330), 
listing the fine-lined pocketbook, orange-nacre mucket, and Alabama 
moccasinshell as threatened species, and the Coosa moccasinshell, ovate 
clubshell, southern clubshell, dark pigtoe, southern pigtoe, triangular 
kidneyshell, upland combshell, and southern acornshell as endangered 
species.
    New mussel harvest regulations adopted by the State of Alabama, and 
other information received in public comments during the open comment 
period, removed our concerns about illegal commercial harvest, and in 
the final rule, we determined that critical habitat was prudent but not 
determinable for the 11 mussel species. The not determinable finding 
was because of insufficient information on distribution and the 
biological needs of these species. Section 4(b)(6)(C) of the Act 
provides that a concurrent critical habitat determination is not 
required with a final regulation implementing endangered or threatened 
status and that the final designation may be postponed for 1 additional 
year beyond the period specified in section 4(b)(6)(A), if a prompt 
determination of endangered or threatened status is essential to the 
conservation of the species, or if critical habitat is not then 
determinable. We found that prompt determination of status was 
essential to the conservation of these species and stated that we would 
attempt to evaluate critical habitat needs through research and 
recovery actions.
    In late 1994, a Technical/Agency draft Mobile River Basin Aquatic 
Ecosystem Recovery Plan that included recovery objectives for the 11 
mussels, among other listed species, was released for public review and 
comment. High levels of interest in details of the plan were expressed 
by the State of Alabama, certain environmental groups, and a number of 
water- and timber-related industries. As a result of a series of 
discussions sponsored by the Alabama Department of Economic and 
Community Affairs, a Mobile River Basin Coalition composed of various 
governmental, environmental, and industry representatives was organized 
for the purpose of reviewing, revising, and eventually implementing the 
recovery plan. A revised Technical/Agency draft was subsequently 
released for public review in 1998, and the final Mobile River Basin 
Aquatic Ecosystem Recovery Plan was published in 2000 (U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service 2000).
    On October 12, 2000, the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project 
filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of 
Tennessee against the Service, the Director of the Service, and the 
Secretary of the Department of the Interior, challenging our not 
determinable findings regarding critical habitat for 9 listed mussels. 
These 9 mussels represent 9 of the 11 Mobile River Basin mussels that 
were listed in 1993, and are listed as follows: upland combshell, 
southern acornshell, Coosa moccasinshell, southern clubshell, southern 
pigtoe, ovate clubshell, triangular kidneyshell, fine-lined pocketbook, 
and Alabama moccasinshell. On November 8, 2001, the District Court 
issued an order directing us to make a proposed critical habitat 
designation for these 11 Mobile River Basin mussels no later than March 
17, 2003, and the final designation by March 17, 2004.

[[Page 14758]]

    This proposal is the product of our reexamination of our 1993 not 
determinable finding for 11 mussels in the Mobile River drainage. The 
2000 lawsuit did not include the dark pigtoe or the orange-nacre 
mucket, but we are considering them because they were a part of the 
original 1993 listing, they overlap in range with some of the other 9 
species, and they occupy similar habitats within that range. It 
reflects our interpretation of the recent judicial opinions on critical 
habitat designation and the standards placed on us for making a 
prudency determination. If additional information becomes available on 
these species' biology, distribution, or threats to the species, we may 
reevaluate this proposal to propose additional critical habitat, 
propose boundary refinements that substantially changes existing 
proposed critical habitat, or withdraw our proposal to designate 
critical habitat. If boundary refinements of existing proposed critical 
habitat are required for a single unit or on a similar small scale 
based on additional information, we will allow additional time for 
public comment within the constraints of our court order.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3(5)(A) of the Act as (i) 
the specific areas within the geographic area occupied by a species, at 
the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found 
those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation 
of the species and (II) that may require special management 
considerations or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the 
geographic area occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon a 
determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species. ``Conservation'' is defined in section 3(3) of the Act as the 
use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring any 
endangered or threatened species to the point at which listing under 
the Act is no longer necessary.
    In order for habitat to be included in a critical habitat 
designation, the habitat features must be ``essential to the 
conservation of the species.'' Such critical habitat designations 
identify, to the extent known using the best scientific data available, 
habitat areas that provide essential life cycle needs of the species 
(i.e., areas on which are found the primary constituent elements, as 
defined at 50 CFR 424.12(b)).
    Regulations at 50 CFR 424.02(j) define special management 
considerations or protection to mean any methods or procedures useful 
in protecting the physical and biological features of the environment 
for the conservation of listed species. If any areas containing the 
primary constituent elements are currently being managed to address the 
conservation needs of these mussel species, they may not require 
special management or protection, and, therefore, may not meet the 
definition of critical habitat in section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act.
    When we designate critical habitat, we may not have the information 
necessary to identify all habitat areas which are essential for the 
conservation of the species. Nevertheless, we are required to designate 
those areas we consider to be essential, using the best information 
available to us.
    Within the geographic area of the species, we will designate only 
currently known essential areas. We will not speculate about what areas 
might be found to be essential if better information became available, 
or what areas may become essential over time. If the information 
available at the time of designation does not show that an area 
provides essential life cycle needs of the species, then the area will 
not be included in the critical habitat designation. Our regulations 
state that, ``The Secretary shall designate as critical habitat areas 
outside the geographic area presently occupied by the species only when 
a designation limited to its present range would be inadequate to 
ensure the conservation of the species'' (50 CFR 424.12(e)). 
Accordingly, when the best available scientific data do not demonstrate 
that the conservation needs of the species require designation of 
critical habitat outside of occupied areas, we will not designate 
critical habitat in areas outside the geographic area occupied by the 
species.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we take into consideration 
the economic impact, and any other relevant impact, of specifying any 
particular area as critical habitat. We may exclude areas from critical 
habitat designation when the benefits of exclusion outweigh the 
benefits of including the areas within critical habitat, provided the 
exclusion will not result in extinction of the species.
    Our Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered Species 
Act, published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34271), provides guidance to 
ensure that our decisions are based on the best scientific and 
commercial data available. It requires that our biologists, to the 
extent consistent with the Act and with the use of the best scientific 
and commercial data available, use primary and original sources of 
information as the basis for recommendations to designate critical 
habitat. When determining which areas are critical habitat, information 
that should be considered includes the listing package for the species, 
the recovery plan, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation 
plans developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys, 
studies, and biological assessments, unpublished materials, and expert 
opinion or personal knowledge.
    Section 4 of the Act generally requires that we designate critical 
habitat at the time of listing and based on what we know at the time of 
designation. If we make a not determinable finding regarding critical 
habitat at the time of listing, section 4(b)(6)(C) of the Act requires 
that the Service publish a final regulation by not more than 1 
additional year, based on such data as may be available at that time, 
designating, to the maximum extent prudent, such habitat. There are 
several thousands of miles of perennial streams in the Mobile River 
Basin. Most of these flow through private property, and may not have 
been adequately surveyed for mussels. Mussels are cryptic species, 
living buried in the stream bottom under water, and rare mussels are 
difficult to locate. We recognize that additional small, limited 
populations for some of these species could exist in some of these 
streams and may be discovered over time. Furthermore, we recognize that 
designation of critical habitat may not include all of the habitat 
areas that may eventually be determined to be necessary for the 
recovery of the species. Therefore, critical habitat designations do 
not signal that habitat outside the designation is unimportant or may 
not be required for recovery. Areas outside the critical habitat 
designation will continue to be subject to conservation actions that 
may be implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act and to the 
regulatory protections afforded by the section 7(a)(2) jeopardy 
standard and the take prohibitions pursuant to section 9 of the Act, as 
determined on the basis of the best available information at the time 
of the action. It is possible that federally funded or assisted 
projects affecting listed species outside their designated critical 
habitat areas could jeopardize those species. Similarly, critical 
habitat designations made on the basis of the best available 
information at the time of designation will not control the direction 
and substance of future recovery plans, habitat conservation plans, or 
other species conservation planning and recovery efforts if new

[[Page 14759]]

information available to these planning efforts calls for a different 
outcome.

Methods Used To Identify Proposed Critical Habitat for 11 Mussel 
Species

    As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12), we used the best scientific and commercial 
information available to determine critical habitat areas that contain 
the physical and biological features that are essential for the 
conservation of the Coosa moccasinshell, southern clubshell, dark 
pigtoe, southern pigtoe, ovate clubshell, triangular kidneyshell, 
southern acornshell, upland combshell, fine-lined pocketbook, orange-
nacre mucket, and Alabama moccasinshell. We reviewed the available 
information pertaining to the historic and current distributions, life 
histories, host fishes, and habitats of, and threats to these species. 
The information used in the preparation of this proposed designation 
includes: Our own site-specific species and habitat information; 
unpublished survey reports, notes, and communications with other 
qualified biologists or experts; peer reviewed scientific publications; 
the final listing rule for 11 mussels in the Mobile River Basin (58 FR 
14330); and the Mobile River Basin Aquatic Ecosystem Recovery Plan 
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2000). In determining the areas that 
are essential to the conservation of the 11 mussels we considered all 
streams currently or historically known to be occupied by one or more 
of the species (see ``Taxonomy, Life History, and Distribution'' 
above). It is likely that other occupied stream or stream segments 
exist that may be essential to the survival and conservation of these 
mussels, but we do not currently know where these are, and therefore 
cannot include them in this proposed critical habitat designation.

Primary Constituent Elements

    In accordance with sections 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act 
and regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas to propose 
as critical habitat, we are required to base critical habitat 
determinations on the best scientific data available and to focus on 
those physical and biological features (primary constituent elements) 
that are essential to the conservation of the species and that may 
require special management considerations or protection. Such 
requirements include, but are not limited to, space for individual and 
population growth and for normal behavior; food, water, air, light, 
minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements; cover or 
shelter; sites for breeding, reproduction, and rearing of offspring; 
and habitats that are protected from disturbance or are representative 
of the historical geographical and ecological distribution of a 
species.
    Based on the best available information, primary constituent 
elements essential for the conservation of these 11 mussel species 
include the following:
    1. Geomorphically stable stream and river channels and banks;
    2. A flow regime (i.e., the magnitude, frequency, duration, and 
seasonality of discharge over time) necessary for normal behavior, 
growth, and survival of all life stages of mussels and their fish hosts 
in the river environment;
    3. Water quality, including temperature, pH, hardness, turbidity, 
oxygen content, and other chemical characteristics, necessary for 
normal behavior, growth, and viability of all life stages;
    4. Sand, gravel, and/or cobble substrates with low to moderate 
amounts of fine sediment, low amounts of attached filamentous algae, 
and other physical and chemical characteristics necessary for normal 
behavior, growth, and viability of all life stages;
    5. Fish hosts with adequate living, foraging, and spawning areas 
for them; and,
    6. Few or no competitive nonnative species present.
    In considering and identifying primary constituent elements, we 
have taken into account the dynamic nature of riverine systems. We 
recognize that riparian areas and floodplains are integral parts of the 
stream ecosystem, important in maintaining channel geomorphology, and 
providing nutrient input, and buffering from sediments and pollution; 
and that side channel and backwater habitats may be important in the 
life cycle of fish that serve as hosts for mussel larvae.

Analysis Used To Delineate Critical Habitat

    Currently, the greatest general threat to the survival and recovery 
of these 11 Mobile River Basin mussel species is the small size, 
extent, and isolation of their remaining populations. With the 
exception of the dark pigtoe, which is believed to be naturally 
restricted to streams and rivers in the Black Warrior drainage, these 
mussel species were once widespread in the Basin, found in a continuum 
of small streams to large rivers in 2 or more major drainages. As 
discussed under the ``Summary of Decline and Threats to Surviving 
Populations,'' and the Mobile River Basin Aquatic Ecosystem Recovery 
Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2000), 30 major dams were 
constructed in the Basin during the 20th century. These dams and their 
impounded waters present physical barriers to the natural dispersal of 
mussels (they prevent emigration (dispersal) of host fishes), and 
effectively isolate surviving mussel populations in limited portions of 
the Basin's major drainages. Small isolated aquatic populations are 
subject to natural random events (droughts, floods), and to changes in 
human activities and land use practices (urbanization, 
industrialization, mining, certain agricultural activities and 
practices, etc.), that may severely impact aquatic habitats (Neves et 
al. 1997). Without avenues of emigration to less affected watersheds, 
mussel populations gradually disappear where land use activities result 
in deterioration of aquatic habitats. Local random events, and changes 
in human activities within the Basin's unimpounded watersheds are 
believed to have caused or contributed to the disappearance of mollusks 
from significant portions of isolated stream habitats, resulting in the 
extinction of as many as 13 mussels, as well as a number of freshwater 
snail species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2000).
    Most of the 11 mussel species considered in this proposed 
designation are currently represented by one or more small, restricted, 
and isolated populations. These surviving populations have been 
isolated from one another by dams and impounded reaches for 20 to 50 
years, and remain vulnerable to the progressive degradation of their 
habitats from land surface runoff or random natural events such as 
droughts. In many of these surviving populations, there is also 
evidence of local population decline during the same time period (e.g., 
Evans 2001, Hartfield and Jones 1990, Williams and Hughes, 1998, 
McGregor et al. 2000).
    The Mobile River Basin Aquatic Ecosystem Recovery Plan (U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service 2000), recognized the complexity of conserving the 
Basin's imperiled species, and considered that downlisting or delisting 
these 11 mussels was unlikely in the foreseeable future because of the 
extent of their decline, the fragmentation and isolation of their 
habitats, and continuing impacts upon their habitats. Compounding these 
problems is a lack of information on specific habitat and life history 
requirements of these species, or on the physical threats that confront 
them (e.g., sediment, nutrient, and other pollutant sensitivities, 
etc.). Threats compounded by habitat fragmentation and isolation

[[Page 14760]]

can be reduced by increasing the number, expanding the range, and 
increasing the density of populations. Preventing the extinction of 
those species listed as endangered, and arresting the continued decline 
of those species listed as threatened are the recovery objectives 
outlined in the recovery plan for these 11 mussels. The recovery plan 
emphasizes: (1) Protection of surviving populations of these mussels 
and their stream and river habitats; (2) enhancement and restoration of 
habitats; (3) and population management, including augmentation and 
reintroduction of the 11 mussels into portions of their historic ranges 
to obtain these recovery objectives. In determining which areas to 
propose as critical habitat for these 9 mussels, we considered the 
factors discussed in the recovery plan, as well as the mussels' 
historical distributions and the extent of current occupied habitats 
and their management potential.
    We began our analysis by considering the historic ranges of the 11 
mussel species. A large proportion of the Basin's streams and rivers 
that historically supported these mussels has been modified by existing 
dams and their impounded waters. Therefore, extensive portions of the 
upper Tombigbee River, Black Warrior River, Tallapoosa River, Alabama 
River, and Coosa River cannot be considered essential to the 
conservation of these species because they no longer provide the 
physical and biological features that are essential for their 
conservation (see ``Primary Constituent Elements'' section).
    Free-flowing river segments and their tributaries peripheral to the 
known historic range of the 11 mussels, and without any records of the 
species also cannot be considered to be essential to the conservation 
of these species (e.g., Mobile/Tensas River, lower Tombigbee River, 
etc.) and so were not considered further. Several streams with single 
site occurrence records of a single species were also not considered 
essential because of limited habitat availability, isolation, degraded 
habitat, and/or low management value or potential (e.g., Etowah River, 
Big Wills Creek, Little River, Armuchee Creek, Euharlee Creek, 
Limestone Creek, etc.).
    We then evaluated streams and rivers within the historic ranges of 
these 11 species which had evidence that these mussels had occurred 
there at some point (i.e., collection records). We eliminated from 
consideration areas from which there have been no collection records 
for several decades and/or are remote from currently occupied areas 
(e.g., portions of the lower Alabama River, lower Cahaba River, 
Mulberry Fork, Noxubee River, Talladega Creek, and others). In 
evaluating streams for the upland combshell and southern acornshell, 
specifically, we considered their historic ranges (Black Warrior, 
Cahaba, and Coosa River drainages). We selected those areas which have 
the best potential for and we believe are essential to the conservation 
of these two mussels based on collection history, surviving mussel 
species assemblages, and habitat conditions.
    This analysis resulted in the identification of 25 of the 26 stream 
or river reaches within the Basin (habitat units) occupied by 1 or more 
of the 11 species and that contain the primary constituent elements as 
indicated by the presence and persistence of one or more of the listed 
mussels (Figure 1, Units 1 to 25). We believe that these areas also 
support darters, minnows, and other fishes that have been identified as 
hosts or potential hosts for one or more of the mussels, as evidenced 
by fish collection records (Mettee et al. 1996), the persistence of the 
mussels over extended periods of time, or field evidence of recruitment 
(Evans 2001, Hartfield and Jones 1990, and Herod et al. 2001, etc.). We 
consider all of these 25 of the 26 reaches essential for the 
conservation of these species. As discussed in the Recovery Plan, long-
term conservation of these 11 mussels is unlikely in their currently 
reduced and fragmented state. Therefore, at a minimum, it is essential 
to include in this designation the reaches within the historic range 
that still contain mussels and the primary constituent elements of the 
habitat.
    We then considered whether this essential area was adequate for the 
conservation of each of the 11 mussel species. Given that threats to 
the species are compounded by their limited distribution and isolation, 
it is unlikely that currently occupied habitat is adequate for the 
conservation of all 11 species. Conservation of these species requires 
expanding their ranges into currently unoccupied portions of their 
historic habitat because small, isolated, aquatic populations are 
subject to chance catastrophic events and to changes in human 
activities and land use practices that may result in their elimination. 
Larger, more contiguous populations can reduce the threat of extinction 
due to habitat fragmentation and isolation.
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14761]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.000

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    Because portions of the historic range of each of the 11 mussels 
were shared with 4 or more of the other mussel species, there is 
considerable overlap between species' current and historical 
distributions within 25 of the 26 habitat units. This offers 
opportunities to increase each species' current range and number of 
extant populations into units currently occupied by other listed 
species included in this designation. For

[[Page 14762]]

example, the Alabama moccasinshell historically inhabited 16 of the 
units, and currently inhabits 7; fine-lined pocketbook was known from 
12 of the units, and currently inhabits 10; orange-nacre mucket 
historically occupied 15 units, and is currently found in 12; and Coosa 
moccasinshell historically occupied 9 of the units, but is currently 
found in only 1. Successful reintroduction of the species into units 
that they historically occupied (and that are currently occupied by 1 
or more of the 11 species) would expand the number of populations, 
thereby reducing threat of extinction. Each of the 25 of the 26 habitat 
units (Units 1-25) are currently occupied by 1 or more of the listed 
mussels. Only two occupied habitat units and one unoccupied habitat 
unit are proposed for the dark pigtoe because its range was naturally 
restricted to the Black Warrior drainage, and we are unable to identify 
any other unoccupied habitat units in the drainage that provide 
constituent elements.
    As noted above, conservation of these species requires expanding 
their ranges into unoccupied portions of historic habitat. Therefore, 
in addition to these 25 habitat units, we also propose to designate the 
Coosa River below Jordan Dam (Unit 26) as critical habitat for 9 of the 
11 mussel species. Shells of the fine-lined pocketbook were last 
collected from this reach in 1989 (Pierson 1991a), and it is also 
within the historic range of 8 other species. This is the only unit 
currently not occupied by at least 1 of the 11 species (Johnson 2002). 
This area has recently been identified as presenting high potential for 
the successful reintroduction of imperiled mussels in the Coosa River 
drainage (Johnson 2002). In 1990, the Alabama Power Company initiated a 
2000 cubic feet per second minimum flow into the Coosa River below 
Jordan Dam (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) 1990), greatly 
improving aquatic habitat quality. The lower Coosa River not only 
offers high-quality riverine habitat, but due to local geology it is 
relatively protected from non-point runoff, a major threat to all 
existing populations of these species. There are historic records of 
fine-lined pocketbook and southern clubshell from this 13 km (8 mi) 
reach of river (Johnson 2002, Pierson 1991a), and it is within the 
historic range of Alabama moccasinshell, Coosa moccasinshell, ovate 
clubshell, southern pigtoe, triangular kidneyshell, southern 
acornshell, and upland combshell. As noted above, threats to these 
species can be reduced by expanding their current ranges through 
reintroduction into suitable habitats. Since the Coosa River below 
Jordan Dam is recognized as presenting the best opportunity for 
reestablishing populations of 9 of the 11 species and is viewed by 
experts as a high-quality example of remaining mussel habitat in the 
Basin, we believe it is also essential for their conservation, and 
propose to designate it as unoccupied habitat for these 9 mussel 
species.
    As a result, we have defined 26 habitat units encompassing 
approximately 1,760 km (1,093 mi) of stream and river channels in 
Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee, for these 11 mussel 
species (Figure 1). Although this represents only a small proportion of 
each species' historic range, these habitat units include a significant 
proportion of the Basin's remaining, highest quality, free-flowing 
rivers and streams, and reflect the variety of small stream to large 
river habitats historically occupied by each species. Because mussels 
are naturally restricted by certain physical conditions within a stream 
or river reach (i.e., flow, substrate), they may be unevenly 
distributed within these habitat units. Uncertainty on upstream and 
downstream distributional limits of some populations may have resulted 
in small areas of occupied habitat excluded from, or areas of 
unoccupied habitat included in the designation.
    We recognize that both historic and recent collection records upon 
which we relied are incomplete, and that there are river segments or 
small tributaries not included in this proposed designation that may 
harbor small, limited populations of one or more of the 11 species 
considered in this proposed designation, or that others may become 
suitable in the future. The exclusion of such areas does not diminish 
their potential individual or cumulative importance to the conservation 
of these species. However, we believe that with proper management each 
of the 26 habitat units are capable of supporting 1 or more of these 11 
species, and will serve as source populations for artificial 
reintroduction into designated stream units, as well as assisted or 
natural migration into adjacent undesignated streams within the Basin.
    At this time, the habitat areas contained within the units 
described below constitute our best evaluation of areas needed for the 
conservation of these species. Proposed critical habitat may be revised 
for any or all of these species should new information become available 
prior to the final rule, and existing critical habitat may be revised 
if new information becomes available after the final rule.

Need for Special Management Consideration or Protection

    An area designated as critical habitat contains one or more of the 
primary constituent elements that are essential to the conservation of 
the species (see ``Primary Constituent Elements'' section), and that 
may require special management considerations or protection. Various 
activities in or adjacent to each of the critical habitat units 
described in this proposed rule may affect one or more of the primary 
constituent elements that are found in the unit. These activities 
include, but are not limited to, those listed in the ``Effects of 
Critical Habitat'' section as ``Federal Actions That May Affect 
Critical Habitat and Require Consultation.'' None of the proposed 
critical habitat units is presently under special management or 
protection provided by a legally operative plan or agreement for the 
conservation of these mussels. Therefore, we have determined that the 
proposed units may require special management or protection.

Proposed Critical Habitat Designation

    The areas that we are proposing for designation as critical habitat 
for the 11 mussel species provide one or more of the primary 
constituent elements described above. In accordance with the Mobile 
River Aquatic Ecosystem Recovery Plan (2000), protection of the habitat 
in these units and their surviving populations is essential to the 
conservation of these 11 mussel species. All of the proposed areas 
require special management considerations to ensure their contribution 
to the conservation of these mussels. For each stream reach proposed as 
a critical habitat unit, the up- and downstream boundaries are 
described in general detail below; more precise estimates are provided 
in the Regulation Promulgation of this rule.

Critical Habitat Unit Descriptions

    The critical habitat units described below include the stream and 
river channels within the ordinary high water line. As defined in 33 
CFR 329.11, the ordinary high water line on nontidal rivers is the line 
on the shore established by the fluctuations of water and indicated by 
physical characteristics such as a clear, natural line impressed on the 
bank; shelving; changes in the character of soil; destruction of 
terrestrial vegetation; the presence of litter and debris; or other 
appropriate means that consider the characteristics of the surrounding 
areas. We are proposing the following areas for

[[Page 14763]]

designation as critical habitat for the 11 mussel species (Refer to 
Table 1 for the location and extent of proposed critical habitat for 
each species and more specifically to Sec.  17.95, Critical habitat-
fish and wildlife, at the end of this rule).

  Table 1.--Approximate River Distances, by Drainage, for Occupied and Unoccupied Proposed Critical Habitat for
                                             the 9 Mussel Species *
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Currently Occupied       Currently Unoccupied
     Species, Status, Critical Habitat  Unit, and State      ---------------------------------------------------
                                                               Kilometers     Miles      Kilometers     Miles
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Alabama moccasinshell
 
                         THREATENED
1. East Fork Tombigbee River, MS............................  ...........  ...........           26           16
2. Bull Mountain Creek, MS..................................           34           21  ...........  ...........
3. Buttahatchee River, MS, AL...............................          110           68  ...........  ...........
4. Luxapalila Creek, MS, AL.................................           29           18  ...........  ...........
5. Coalfire Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           32           20
6. Lubbub Creek, AL.........................................           31           19  ...........  ...........
7. Sipsey River, AL.........................................           90           56  ...........  ...........
8. Trussels Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           21           13
9. Sucarnoochee River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           90           56
10. Sipsey Fork, AL.........................................          147           91  ...........  ...........
11. North River, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           47           29
12. Locust Fork, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........          102           63
13. Cahaba River, AL........................................  ...........  ...........          124           77
15. Bogue Chitto Creek, AL..................................  ...........  ...........           52           32
25. Oostanuala complex, GA, TN..............................           16           10          191          119
26. Lower Coosa River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           13            8
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................          457          283          698          433
                                                             ==============
                    Fine-lined pocketbook
 
                         THREATENED
13. Cahaba River, AL........................................          124           77  ...........  ...........
16. Tallapoosa River, AL, GA................................          161          100  ...........  ...........
17. Uphapee complex, AL.....................................           74           46  ...........  ...........
18. Coosa River, AL.........................................           78           48  ...........  ...........
19. Hatchet Creek, AL.......................................           66           41  ...........  ...........
20. Shoal Creek, AL.........................................           26           16  ...........  ...........
21. Kelly Creek, AL.........................................           34           21  ...........  ...........
22. Cheaha Creek, AL........................................           27           17  ...........  ...........
23. Yellowleaf Creek, AL....................................           39           24  ...........  ...........
24. Big Canoe Creek, AL.....................................  ...........  ...........           29           18
25. Oostanaula complex, GA, TN..............................          115           71           92           57
26. Lower Coosa River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           13            8
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................          744          461          134           83
                                                             ==============
                     Orange-nacre mucket
 
                         THREATENED
1. East Fork Tombigbee River, MS............................           26           16  ...........  ...........
2. Bull Mountain Creek, MS..................................  ...........  ...........           34           21
3. Buttahatchee River, MS, AL...............................           87           54           23           14
4. Luxapalila Creek, MS, AL.................................           29           18  ...........  ...........
5. Coalfire Creek, AL.......................................           32           20  ...........  ...........
6. Lubbub Creek, AL.........................................           31           19  ...........  ...........
7. Sipsey River, AL.........................................           90           56  ...........  ...........
8. Trussels Creek, AL.......................................           21           13  ...........  ...........
9. Sucarnoochee River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           90           56
10. Sipsey Fork, AL.........................................          147           91  ...........  ...........
11. North River, AL.........................................           47           29  ...........  ...........
12. Locust Fork, AL.........................................          102           63  ...........  ...........
13. Cahaba River, AL........................................          124           77  ...........  ...........
14. Alabama River, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           73           45
15. Bogue Chitto Creek, AL..................................           52           32  ...........  ...........
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................          788          480          220          136
                                                             ==============
                     Coosa moccasinshell
                         ENDANGERED
18. Coosa River, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           78           48
19. Hatchet Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           66           41
20. Shoal Creek, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           26           16
21. Kelly Creek, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           34           21
22. Cheaha Creek, AL........................................  ...........  ...........           27           17
23. Yellowleaf Creek, AL....................................  ...........  ...........           39           24

[[Page 14764]]

 
24. Big Canoe Creek, AL.....................................  ...........  ...........           29           18
25. Oostanaula Complex, GA, TN..............................          115           71           92           57
26. Lower Coosa River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           13            8
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................          115           71          404          250
                                                             ==============
                         Dark pigtoe
                         ENDANGERED
10. Sipsey Fork, AL.........................................          147           91  ...........  ...........
11. North River, AL.........................................           47           29  ...........  ...........
12. Locust Fork, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........          102           63
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................          194          120          102           63
                                                             ==============
                       Ovate clubshell
                         ENDANGERED
1. East Fork Tombigbee River, MS............................  ...........  ...........           26           16
2. Bull Mountain Creek, MS..................................  ...........  ...........           34           21
3. Buttahatchee River, MS, AL...............................           87           54           23           14
4. Luxapalila Creek,MS, AL..................................           29           18  ...........  ...........
5. Coalfire Creek, AL.......................................           32           20  ...........  ...........
6. Lubbub Creek, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           31           19
7. Sipsey River, AL.........................................           90           56  ...........  ...........
8. Trussels Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           21           13
9. Sucarnoochee River, AL...................................           90           56  ...........  ...........
10. Sipsey Fork, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........          147           91
11. North River, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           47           29
12. Locust Fork, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........          102           63
13. Cahaba River, AL........................................  ...........  ...........          124           77
17. Uphapee complex, AL.....................................           74           46  ...........  ...........
18. Coosa River, AL.........................................           18           11           60           37
19. Hatchet Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           66           41
21. Kelly Creek, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           34           21
24. Big Canoe Creek, AL.....................................  ...........  ...........           29           18
25. Oostanaula complex, GA, TN..............................  ...........  ...........          206          128
26. Lower Coosa River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           13            8
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................          420          261          963          596
                                                             ==============
                     Southern clubshell
 
                         ENDANGERED
1. East Fork Tombigbee River, MS............................           26           16  ...........  ...........
2. Bull Mountain Creek, MS..................................           34           21  ...........  ...........
3. Buttahatchee River, MS, AL...............................           87           54           23           14
4. Luxapalila Creek, MS AL..................................           29           18  ...........  ...........
5. Coalfire Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           32           20
6. Lubbub Creek, AL.........................................           31           19  ...........  ...........
7. Sipsey River, AL.........................................           90           56  ...........  ...........
8. Trussels Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           21           13
9. Sucarnoochee River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           90           56
13. Cahaba River, AL........................................  ...........  ...........          124           77
14. Alabama River, AL.......................................           73           45  ...........  ...........
15. Bogue Chitto Creek, AL..................................           52           32  ...........  ...........
17. Uphapee Complex, AL.....................................           74           46
18. Coosa River, AL.........................................           71           44            7            4
19. Hatchet Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           66           41
21. Kelly Creek, AL.........................................           26           16            8            5
24. Big Canoe Creek, AL.....................................           29           18  ...........  ...........
25. Oostanaula Complex, GA, TN..............................           15            9          130          120
26. Lower Coosa River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           13            8
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................          637          394          577          358
                                                             ==============
                       Southern pigtoe
 
                         ENDANGERED
18. Coosa River, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           78           48
19. Hatchet Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           66           41
20. Shoal Creek, AL.........................................           26           16  ...........  ...........
21. Kelly Creek, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           34           21

[[Page 14765]]

 
22. Cheaha Creek, AL........................................           27           17  ...........  ...........
23. Yellowleaf Creek,.......................................  ...........  ...........           39           24
24. Big Canoe Creek, AL.....................................           29           18  ...........  ...........
25. Oostanaula Complex, GA, TN..............................          115           71           92           57
26. Lower Coosa River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           13            8
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................          197          122          322          199
                                                             ==============
                   Triangular kidneyshell
 
                         ENDANGERED
10. Sipsey Fork, AL.........................................          147           91  ...........  ...........
11. North River, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           47           29
12. Locust Fork, AL.........................................          102           63  ...........  ...........
13. Cahaba River, AL........................................          105           65           19           12
18. Coosa River, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           78           48
19. Hatchet Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           66           41
20. Shoal Creek, AL.........................................           26           16  ...........  ...........
21. Kelly Creek, AL.........................................           26           16            8            5
22. Cheaha Creek, AL........................................  ...........  ...........           27           17
23. Yellowleaf Creek, AL....................................  ...........  ...........           39           24
24. Big Canoe Creek, AL.....................................           29           18  ...........  ...........
25. Oostanaula Complex, GA, TN..............................          206          128  ...........  ...........
26. Lower Coosa River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           13            8
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................          641          397          297          184
                                                             ==============
                     Southern acornshell
 
                         ENDANGERED
13. Cahaba River, AL........................................  ...........  ...........          124           77
18. Coosa River, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           78           48
19. Hatchet Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           66           41
21. Kelly Creek, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           34           21
24. Big Canoe Creek, AL.....................................  ...........  ...........           29           18
25. Oostanaula Complex, GA, TN..............................  ...........  ...........          205          128
26. Lower Coosa River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           13            8
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................  ...........  ...........          549          341
                                                             ==============
                      Upland combshell
 
                         ENDANGERED
12. Locust Fork, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........          102           63
13. Cahaba River, AL........................................  ...........  ...........          124           77
18. Coosa River, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           78           48
19. Hatchet Creek, AL.......................................  ...........  ...........           66           41
21. Kelly Creek, AL.........................................  ...........  ...........           34           21
24. Big Canoe Creek, AL.....................................  ...........  ...........           29           18
25. Oostanaula Complex, GA, TN..............................  ...........  ...........          205          128
26. Lower Coosa River, AL...................................  ...........  ...........           13            8
                                                             --------------
    Total...................................................  ...........  ...........          651          404
                                                             ==============
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Table 1 refers to the location and extent of proposed critical habitat for each species. For more detail,
  refer to Sec.   17.95. Table 1 will reflect totals on a species level only, because units are listed under
  each species as appropriate.

Upper Tombigbee River Drainage, Alabama, Mississippi

    The Tombigbee River and several of its tributaries above the 
confluence of the Black Warrior River historically supported robust 
populations of the orange-nacre mucket, Alabama moccasinshell, southern 
clubshell, and ovate clubshell. Construction of navigation dams has 
eliminated these species from the mainstem river, and the dams and 
impounded waters isolate all surviving tributary populations from each 
other.

Unit 1. East Fork Tombigbee River, Monroe, Itawamba Counties, 
Mississippi

    Unit 1 encompasses 26 km (16 mi) of the East Fork Tombigbee River 
channel in Mississippi extending from Mississippi Highway 278, Monroe 
County, upstream to the confluence of Mill Creek, Itawamba County, 
Mississippi. This reach of the East Fork Tombigbee River continues to 
support the southern clubshell and orange-nacre mucket (Hartfield and 
Jones 1989, Miller and Hartfield 1988, Mississippi Museum of Natural 
Science (MMNS) mussel collections 1984-2001). This unit is within the 
historic range of the

[[Page 14766]]

Alabama moccassinshell and ovate clubshell.

Unit 2. Bull Mountain Creek, Itawamba County, Mississippi

    Unit 2 encompasses 34 km (21 mi) of the Bull Mountain Creek stream 
channel in Mississippi extending from Mississippi Highway 25, upstream 
to U.S. Highway 78, Itawamba County, Mississippi. Bull Mountain Creek 
supports the southern clubshell and Alabama moccasinshell (Jones and 
Majure 1999). This unit is within the historic range of the orange-
nacre mucket (records are from the early 1980's (MMNS mussel 
collections)) and the ovate clubshell.

Unit 3. Buttahatchee River and Tributary, Lowndes/Monroe County, 
Mississippi; Lamar County, Alabama

    Unit 3 encompasses 110 km (68 mi) of river and stream channel in 
Mississippi and Alabama, including 87 km (54 mi) of the Buttahatchee 
River, extending from the confluence with Tombigbee River, Lowndes/
Monroe County, Mississippi, upstream to the confluence of Beaver Creek, 
Lamar County, Alabama; and 23 km (14 mi) of Sipsey Creek, extending 
from its confluence with the Buttahatchee River, upstream to the 
Mississippi/Alabama State Line, Monroe County, Mississippi. The 
Buttahatchee River continues to support and provide habitat for the 
southern clubshell, orange-nacre mucket, ovate clubshell, and Alabama 
moccasinshell (Haag and Warren 2001, Hartfield and Jones 1989, Jones 
1991, McGregor 2000). The current distribution of the Alabama 
moccasinshell also extends into its tributary Sipsey Creek (McGregor 
2000).

Unit 4. Luxapalila Creek and Tributary, Lowndes County, Mississippi; 
Lamar County, Alabama

    Unit 4 encompasses 29 km (18 mi) of stream channel, including 15 km 
(9 mi) of Luxapalila Creek, extending from Waterworks Road, Columbus, 
Mississippi, upstream to approximately 1.0 km (0.6 mi) above Steens 
Road, Lowndes County, Mississippi; and 15 km (9 mi) of Yellow Creek 
extending from its confluence with Luxapalila Creek, upstream to the 
confluence of Cut Bank Creek, Lamar County, Alabama. Luxapalila and 
Yellow Creeks support and provide habitat for the southern clubshell, 
orange-nacre mucket, ovate clubshell, and Alabama moccasinshell 
(Hartfield and Bowker 1992, McGregor 2000, Miller 2000, Yokley 2001).

Unit 5. Coalfire Creek, Pickens County, Alabama

    Unit 5 encompasses 32 km (20 mi) of the Coalfire Creek stream 
channel extending from the confluence with the Aliceville Lake 
(Tombigbee River), upstream to U.S. Highway 82, Pickens County, 
Alabama. Coalfire Creek supports the orange-nacre mucket and ovate 
clubshell (P. Hartfield, Service field records 1991; McGregor 2000). 
The creek is in the historic range of the southern clubshell and 
Alabama moccasinshell.

Unit 6. Lubbub Creek, Pickens County, Alabama

    Unit 6 encompasses 31 km (19 mi) of the Lubbub Creek stream channel 
extending from its confluence with the impounded waters of Gainesville 
Lake (Tombigbee River), upstream to the confluence of Little Lubbub 
Creek, Pickens County, Alabama. This stream supports the southern 
clubshell, orange-nacre mucket, and Alabama moccasinshell (P. 
Hartfield, Service field records 1991, McGregor 2000, Pierson 1991a). 
It is in the historic range of the ovate clubshell.

Unit 7. Sipsey River, Greene/Pickens, Tuscaloosa Counties, Alabama

    Unit 7 encompasses 90 km (56 mi) of the Sipsey River channel from 
the confluence with Gainesville Lake (Tombigbee River), Greene/Pickens 
County, upstream to Alabama Highway 171 crossing, Tuscaloosa County, 
Alabama. This small river supports and provides some of the best 
remaining habitat for the southern clubshell, orange-nacre mucket, 
ovate clubshell, and Alabama moccasinshell (Haag and Warren 1997, 
McCullagh et al. in press, McGregor 2000, MMNS Mussel Collection, 
Pierson, 1991 a, b).

Unit 8. Trussels Creek, Greene County, Alabama

    Unit 8 encompasses 21 km (13 mi) of creek channel extending from 
its confluence with the Tombigbee River, upstream to Alabama Highway 
14, Greene County, Alabama. The orange-nacre mucket continues to 
survive in Trussels Creek, and it is in the historic range of the ovate 
clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and southern clubshell (P. Hartfield 
field records 1993, McGregor 2000).

Unit 9. Sucarnoochee River, Sumter County, Alabama

    Unit 9 encompasses 90 km (56 mi) of the Sucarnoochee River channel 
in Alabama, extending from its confluence with the Tombigbee River, 
upstream to the Mississippi/Alabama State Line, Sumter County, Alabama. 
The ovate clubshell continues to survive in the Sucarnoochee River 
(McGregor et al. 1996). The river is within the historic range of the 
southern clubshell, orange-nacre mucket, and Alabama moccasinshell.

Black Warrior River Drainage, Alabama

    The Black Warrior River and its tributaries historically supported 
populations of the orange-nacre mucket, Alabama moccasinshell, Coosa 
moccasinshell, southern clubshell, ovate clubshell, dark pigtoe, 
triangular kidneyshell, and upland combshell. There are also records of 
the fine-lined pocketbook from the drainage. Dam construction for 
navigation and hydropower and episodic water pollution resulted in the 
extirpation of the Coosa moccasinshell, southern clubshell, ovate 
clubshell, and upland combshell from this drainage. Three tributary 
drainages continue to support two or more endangered and threatened 
mussels. Dams and impounded waters currently isolate these drainages 
from each other.

Unit 10. Sipsey Fork Drainage, Winston, Lawrence Counties, Alabama

    Unit 10 encompasses 147 km (91 mi) of stream channel in Alabama, 
including: Sipsey Fork, 31 km (19 mi), from section 11/12 line, T10S 
R8W, Winston County, upstream to the confluence of Hubbard Creek, 
Lawrence County, Alabama; Thompson Creek, 8 km (5 mi), from confluence 
with Hubbard Creek, upstream to section 2 line, T8S R9W, Lawrence 
County, Alabama; Brushy Creek, 35 km (22 mi), from the confluence of 
Glover Creek, Winston County, Alabama, upstream to section 9, T8S R7W, 
Lawrence County, Alabama; Capsey Creek, 15 km (9 mi), from confluence 
with Brushy Creek, Winston County, upstream to the confluence of Turkey 
Creek, Lawrence County, Alabama; Rush Creek, 10 km (6 mi), from 
confluence with Brushy Creek, upstream to Winston/Lawrence County Line, 
Winston County, Alabama; Brown Creek, 5 km (3 mi), from confluence with 
Rush Creek, Winston County, upstream to section 24 line, T8S R7W 
Lawrence County, Alabama; Beech Creek, 3 km (2 mi), from confluence 
with Brushy Creek, to confluence of East and West Forks, Winston 
County, Alabama; Caney Creek and North Fork Caney Creek, 13 km (8 mi), 
from confluence with Sipsey Fork, upstream to section 14 line, Winston 
County, Alabama; Borden Creek, 18 km (11 mi), from confluence with 
Sipsey Fork, Winston County, Alabama,

[[Page 14767]]

upstream to the confluence of Montgomery Creek, Lawrence County, 
Alabama; Flannagin Creek, 10 km (6 mi), from confluence with Borden 
Creek, upstream to confluence of Dry Creek, Lawrence County, Alabama. 
The upper Sipsey Fork drainage currently supports the most robust and 
extensive populations of the dark pigtoe, orange-nacre mucket, Alabama 
moccasinshell, and triangular kidneyshell (Haag and Warren 1997; Haag 
et al. 1995; Hartfield 1991; Hartfield and Butler 1997; Hartfield and 
Hartfield 1996; McGregor 1992, Warren and Haag 1994). Ovate clubshell 
have been reported from this drainage (Dodd 1986).

Unit 11. North River and Tributary, Tuscaloosa, Fayette Counties, 
Alabama

    Unit 11 encompasses 47 km (29 mi) of river and stream channel in 
Alabama, including: North River, 42 km (26 mi) extending from 
Tuscaloosa County Road 38, Tuscaloosa County, upstream to confluence of 
Ellis Creek, Fayette County, Alabama; Clear Creek, 5 km (3 mi), from 
its confluence with North River, to Bays Lake Dam, Fayette County, 
Alabama. Small numbers of the dark pigtoe and orange-nacre mucket 
continue to survive in the North River and Clear Creek (McGregor and 
Pierson 1999, Pierson 1992a, Vittor and Associates 1993). This area is 
in the historic range of the Alabama moccasinshell, triangular 
kidneyshell, and ovate clubshell.

Unit 12. Locust Fork and Tributary, Jefferson, Blount Counties, Alabama

    Unit 12 encompasses 102 km (63 mi) of river and stream channel in 
Alabama, including: Locust Fork, 94 km (58 mi) extending from U.S. 
Highway 78, Jefferson County, upstream to the confluence of Little 
Warrior River, Blount County, Alabama; Little Warrior River, 8 km (5 
mi), from its confluence with the Locust Fork, upstream to the 
confluence of Calvert Prong and Blackburn Fork, Blount County, Alabama. 
Scattered collections of the orange-nacre mucket and triangular 
kidneyshell suggest an enduring population of these species in the 
Locust Fork (P. Johnson pers. comm. 2002, Hartfield 1991, Shepard et 
al. 1988). This stream is also in the historic range of the dark 
pigtoe, Alabama moccasinshell, ovate clubshell, and upland combshell.

Cahaba River Drainage, Alabama

    The Cahaba River and tributaries historically supported the orange-
nacre mucket, fine-lined pocketbook, Alabama moccasinshell, southern 
clubshell, ovate clubshell, triangular kidneyshell, upland combshell, 
and southern acornshell. Episodic and persistent pollution events have 
caused the decline of the mussel community throughout the drainage, as 
well as the extirpation of five of the listed mussels.

Unit 13. Cahaba River and Tributary, Jefferson, Shelby, Bibb Counties, 
Alabama

    Unit 13 encompasses 124 km (77 mi) of river channel in Alabama, 
including: Cahaba River, 105 km (65 mi) extending from U.S. Highway 82, 
Centerville, Bibb County, upstream to Jefferson County Road 143, 
Jefferson County, Alabama; Little Cahaba River, 19 km (12 mi), from its 
confluence with the Cahaba River, upstream to the confluence of Mahan 
and Shoal Creeks, Bibb County, Alabama. Scattered individuals of 
triangular kidneyshell, orange-nacre mucket, and fine-lined pocketbook 
continue to be collected from the Cahaba drainag (R. Haddock, Cahaba 
River Society, pers. comm. 2002; McGregor et al. 2000, Shepard et al. 
1994). The river is historic habitat for the Alabama moccasinshell, 
southern clubshell, ovate clubshell, upland combshell, and southern 
acornshell.

Alabama River Drainage, Alabama

    The Alabama River mollusc community has been reduced due to the 
effects of historic pollution events and impoundment for navigation. 
Historical records from this river include the Alabama moccasinshell, 
orange-nacre mucket, fine-lined pocketbook, triangular kidneyshell, and 
southern clubshell.

Unit 14. Alabama River, Autauga, Lowndes, Dallas Counties, Alabama

    Unit 14 encompasses 73 km (45 mi) of the Alabama River channel, 
extending from the confluence of the Cahaba River, Dallas County, 
upstream to the confluence of Big Swamp Creek, Lowndes County, Alabama. 
The southern clubshell is known to occur within this reach (Hartfield 
and Garner 1998). This area may become suitable for reintroduction of 
the orange-nacre mucket.

Unit 15. Bogue Chitto Creek, Dallas County, Alabama

    Unit 15 encompasses 52 km (32 mi) of the Bogue Chitto Creek channel 
in Alabama, extending from its confluence with the Alabama River, 
Dallas County, upstream to U.S. Highway 80, Dallas County, Alabama. 
This stream continues to support the southern clubshell and orange-
nacre mucket (McGregor et al. 1996; P. Hartfield field notes, 1984; 
Pierson 1991a). The habitat offers potential for the Alabama 
moccasinshell.

Tallapoosa River Drainage, Alabama, Georgia

    Historical and recent records indicate that the Tallapoosa River 
drainage supported a diverse mussel community, although numbers of all 
mussel species have apparently always been low in this system. This 
river drainage currently contains 2 extensive areas of contiguous 
habitat supporting three of the listed mussel species.

Unit 16. Tallapoosa River and Tributary, Cleburne County, Alabama and 
Haralson and Paulding Counties, Georgia

    Unit 16 encompasses 161 km (100 mi) of river and stream channel in 
Alabama and Georgia, including: Tallapoosa River, 137 km (85 mi) 
extending from U.S. Highway 431, Cleburne County, Alabama, upstream to 
the confluence of McClendon and Mud Creeks, Paulding County, Georgia; 
and Cane Creek, 24 km (15 mi), from confluence with Tallapoosa River, 
upstream to Section 33/4 Line (T15S, R11E), Cleburne County, Alabama. 
This extensive area of main channel and tributary habitat supports 
scattered, small numbers of the fine-lined pocketbook (Devris 1997, 
Irwin et al. 1998, Irwin pers. comm. 2000). There have been site 
collections of fine-lined pocketbook in the extreme lowest reaches of 
several small tributaries to the Tallapoosa Unit, including Little Cane 
Creek, Big Creek, McClendon Creek, and Muscadine Creek, and there are 
likely to be others. We believe these small populations are dependent 
upon the main stem Tallapoosa River for recruitment.

Unit 17. Uphapee/Choctafaula/Chewacla Creeks, Macon, Lee Counties, 
Alabama

    Unit 17 encompasses 74 km (46 mi) of stream channel in Alabama, 
including: Uphapee Creek, 18 km (11 mi) of river channel extending from 
Alabama Highway 199, upstream to confluence of Opintlocco and Chewacla 
Creeks, Macon County, Alabama; Choctafaula Creek, 11 km (7 mi), from 
confluence with Uphapee Creek, upstream to Macon County Road 54, Macon 
County, Alabama; Chewacla Creek, 29 km (18 mi), from confluence with 
Opintlocco Creek, Macon County, Alabama, upstream to Lee County Road 
159, Lee County, Alabama; Opintlocco Creek, 16 km (10 mi), from 
confluence with Chewacla Creek, upstream to Macon County Road 79, Macon 
County, Alabama. This stream network supports small and localized 
populations of the

[[Page 14768]]

fine-lined pocketbook, ovate clubshell, and southern clubshell (M. 
Gangloff, Auburn University, in litt. 2001; Gangloff 2002, McGregor 
1993, Pierson 1991a).

Coosa River Drainage, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee

    Extensive impoundment for hydropower during the 20th century along 
with episodic pollution events severely reduced one of the most diverse 
endemic freshwater molluscan communities in the world. Listed mussels 
in the drainage are now restricted to one small portion of the main 
channel Coosa River, one large tributary complex, and several small 
isolated tributaries.

Unit 18. Coosa River (Old River Channel) and tributary, Cherokee, 
Calhoun, Cleburne Counties, Alabama

    Unit 18 encompasses 78 km (48 mi) of river channel in Alabama, 
including: Coosa River, 18 km (11 mi) extending from the powerline 
crossing southeast of Maple Grove, Alabama, upstream to Weiss Dam, 
Cherokee County, Alabama; Terrapin Creek, 53 km (33 mi) extending from 
its confluence with the Coosa River, Cherokee County, upstream to 
Cleburne County Road 49, Cleburne County, Alabama; South Fork Terrapin 
Creek, 7 km (4 mi) from its confluence with Terrapin Creek, upstream to 
Cleburne County Road 55, Cleburne County, Alabama. The short reach of 
the Coosa River continues to support a fairly robust population of the 
southern clubshell, and a few individuals of the ovate clubshell and 
fine-lined pocketbook (Herod et al. 2001). The fine-lined pocketbook 
and southern clubshell have also been recently collected from Terrapin 
Creek (Feminella and Gangloff 2000). This area is within the range of 
the Coosa moccasinshell, southern pigtoe, triangular kidneyshell, 
upland combshell, and southern acornshell.

Unit 19. Hatchet Creek, Coosa, Clay Counties, Alabama

    Unit 19 encompasses 66 km (41 mi) of the Hatchet Creek channel in 
Alabama, extending from the confluence of Swamp Creek at Coosa County 
Road 29, Coosa County, Alabama, upstream to Clay County Road 4, Clay 
County, Alabama. The fine-lined pocketbook occurs within this reach 
(Feminella and Gangloff 2000, Pierson 1992b). Hatchet Creek is within 
the historic range of the Coosa moccasinshell, southern pigtoe, ovate 
clubshell, southern clubshell, triangular kidneyshell, upland 
combshell, and southern acornshell.

Unit 20. Shoal Creek, Calhoun, Cleburne Counties, Alabama

    Unit 20 encompasses 26 km (16 mi) of stream channel in Alabama, 
extending from the headwater of Whitesides Mill Lake, Calhoun County, 
Alabama, upstream to the tailwater of Coleman Lake Dam, Cleburne 
County, Alabama. The fine-lined pocketbook, southern pigtoe, and 
triangular kidneyshell survive in Shoal Creek (Haag et al. 1999, 
Feminella and Gangloff 2000, Gangloff in litt. 2001, Pierson, 1992b). 
Shoal Creek is within historic range of the Coosa moccasinshell.

Unit 21. Kelly Creek and Tributary, Shelby, St. Clair Counties, Alabama

    Unit 21 encompasses 34 km (21 mi) of stream channel in Alabama, 
including: Kelly Creek, 26 km (16 mi) extending from the confluence 
with the Coosa River, upstream to the confluence of Shoal Creek, St. 
Clair County, Alabama; Shoal Creek, 8 km (5 mi), from confluence with 
Kelly Creek, St. Clair County, Alabama, upstream to St. Clair/Shelby 
County Line, St. Clair County, Alabama. Kelly/Shoal Creeks continue to 
support scattered individuals of the fine-lined pocketbook, and the 
southern clubshell and triangular kidneyshell survive in Kelly Creek 
(Pierson pers comm. 1995, Feminella and Gangloff 2000, Gangloff in 
litt. 2001). This stream complex is historic habitat for the southern 
pigtoe, Coosa moccasinshell, ovate clubshell, upland combshell, and 
southern acornshell.

Unit 22. Cheaha Creek, Talladega, Clay Counties, Alabama

    Unit 22 encompasses 27 km (17 mi) of the Cheaha Creek channel, 
extending from its confluence with Choccolocco Creek, Talladega County, 
Alabama, upstream to the tailwater of Chinnabee Lake, Clay County, 
Alabama. The fine-lined pocketbook and southern pigtoe survive within 
this reach (Feminella and Gangloff 2000, Gangloff in litt. 2001, 
Pierson 1992b, 1993). Cheaha Creek is in the historic range of the 
Coosa moccasinshell and triangular kidneyshell.

Unit 23. Yellowleaf Creek and Tributary, Shelby County, Alabama

    Unit 23 encompasses 39 km (24 mi) of stream channel, including: 
Yellowleaf Creek, 32 km (20 mi), extending from Alabama Highway 25, 
upstream to Shelby County Road 49; Muddy Prong, 7 km (4 mi), extending 
from confluence with Yellowleaf Creek, upstream to U.S. Highway 280, 
Shelby County, Alabama. Yellowleaf and Muddy Prong Creeks are currently 
inhabited by the fine-lined pocketbook (Feminella and Gangloff 2000, 
Gangloff in litt., 2001, Pierson in litt. 2000). Yellowleaf Creek is in 
the historic range of the Coosa moccasinshell, southern pigtoe, and 
triangular kidneyshell.

Unit 24. Big Canoe Creek, St. Clair County, Alabama

    Unit 24 encompasses 29 km (18 mi) of the Big Canoe Creek channel, 
extending from its confluence with Little Canoe Creek at the St. Clair/
Etowah County line, St. Clair County, upstream to the confluence of 
Fall Branch, St. Clair County, Alabama. The southern clubshell, 
southern pigtoe, and triangular kidneyshell are surviving in low 
numbers in Big Canoe Creek (Feminella and Gangloff 2000, Gangloff in 
litt. 2001). This stream is also historic habitat for the fine-lined 
pocketbook, ovate clubshell, Coosa moccasinshell, upland combshell, and 
southern acornshell.

Unit 25. Oostanaula River/Coosawattee River/Conasauga River/Holly 
Creek, Floyd, Gordon, Whitfield, Murray Counties, Georgia; Bradley, 
Polk Counties, Tennessee

    Unit 25 encompasses 206 km (128 mi) of river and stream channel in 
Georgia and Tennessee, including: Oostanaula River, 77 km (48 mi) 
extending from its confluence with the Etowah River, Floyd County, 
upstream to the confluence of the Conasauga and Coosawattee River, 
Gordon County, Georgia; Coosawattee River, 15 km (9 mi), from 
confluence with the Conasauga River, upstream to Georgia State Highway 
136, Gordon County, Georgia; Conasauga River, 98 km (61 mi), from 
confluence with the Coosawattee River, Gordon County, Georgia, upstream 
through Bradley and Polk Counties, Tennessee, to the Murray County Road 
2, Murray County, Georgia; Holly Creek, 16 km (10 mi), from confluence 
with Conasauga River, upstream to the confluence of Rock Creek, Murray 
County, Georgia. This extensive riverine reach continues to support 
small and localized populations of fine-lined pocketbook, southern 
pigtoe, triangular kidneyshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and Coosa 
moccasinshell. The triangular kidneyshell survives throughout this 
unit, while the fine-lined pocketbook, southern pigtoe, and Coosa 
moccasinshell appear to be currently restricted to the Conasauga River 
and Holly Creek and the southern clubshell appears restricted to a 
small 15 km (9 mi) reach of the Conasauga River (Evans 2001, Johnson 
and Evans, 2000, Pierson in litt. 1993, Williams and Hughes

[[Page 14769]]

1998). The Alabama moccasinshell is currently known to survive only in 
the Holly Creek portion of this Unit (Evans 2001, Johnson and Evans 
2000). The Oostanaula/Coosawattee/Conasauga Unit also contains historic 
habitat for the southern clubshell, ovate clubshell, upland combshell, 
and southern acornshell.

Unit 26. Lower Coosa River, Elmore County, Alabama

    Unit 26 encompasses 13 km (8 mi) of the Lower Coosa River channel, 
extending from Alabama State Highway 111 bridge, upstream to Jordan 
Dam, Elmore County, Alabama. This river reach is within the historic 
range of fine-lined pocketbook, southern clubshell, Alabama 
moccasinshell, Coosa moccasinshell, ovate clubshell, southern pigtoe, 
triangular kidneyshell, upland combshell, and southern acornshell. 
(Johnson 2002, Pierson 1991a).

Land Ownership

    States were granted ownership of lands beneath navigable waters up 
to the high water mark upon achieving statehood (Pollard v. Hagan, 44 
U.S. (3 How.) 212 (1845)). Prior sovereigns or the States may have made 
grants to private parties which include lands below mean high waters of 
some navigable waters included in this proposal. However, we believe 
that most navigable waters included in this rule are owned by the 
States of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. Most non-
navigable streams and riparian lands bordering navigable streams are in 
private ownership. Table 2 summarizes primary riparian landowners in 
each of the proposed critical habitat units by private, State, or 
Federal ownership. Approximately 82 percent, 1447 km (897 mi), of 
stream channels proposed as critical habitat are bordered by private 
lands.

    Table 2.--Adjacent Riparian Land Ownership (km/mi) in Proposed Critical Habitat Units for Threatened and
                                  Endangered Mussels in the Mobile River Basin
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Critical habitat unit                   Private          State          Federal          Total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. East Fork Tombigbee River....................           19/12  ..............             6/4           26/16
2. Bull Mountain Creek..........................           34/21  ..............  ..............           34/21
3. Buttahatchee River...........................          110/68  ..............  ..............          110/68
4. Luxapalila Creek.............................           29/18  ..............  ..............           29/18
5. Coalfire Creek...............................           32/20  ..............  ..............           32/20
6. Lubbub Creek.................................           31/19  ..............  ..............           31/19
7. Sipsey River.................................           74/46           16/10  ..............           90/56
8. Trussels Creek...............................           21/13  ..............  ..............           21/13
9. Sucarnoochee River...........................           90/56  ..............  ..............           90/56
10. Sipsey Fork.................................            15/9  ..............          132/82          147/91
11. North River.................................           47/29  ..............  ..............           47/29
12. Locust Fork.................................          102/63  ..............  ..............          102/63
13. Cahaba River................................           92/57           26/16             6/4          124/77
14. Alabama River...............................           73/45  ..............  ..............           73/45
15. Bogue Chitto................................           52/32  ..............  ..............           52/32
16. Tallapoosa River............................         161/100  ..............  ..............         161/100
17. Uphapee complex.............................           56/35  ..............           18/11           74/46
18. Coosa River.................................           63/39  ..............            15/9           78/48
19. Hatchet Creek...............................           55/34  ..............            11/7           66/41
20. Shoal Creek.................................  ..............  ..............           26/16           26/16
21. Kelly Creek.................................           34/21  ..............  ..............           34/21
22. Cheaha Creek................................           16/10  ..............            11/7           27/17
23. Yellowleaf Creek............................           39/24  ..............  ..............           39/24
24. Big Canoe Creek.............................           29/18  ..............  ..............           29/18
25. Oostanaula Complex..........................         188/117  ..............           18/11         206/128
26. Lower Coosa River...........................            13/8  ..............  ..............            13/8
                                                 -----------------
    Total.......................................       1,475/914           42/26         243/151     1,760/1,093
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Public lands adjacent to proposed critical habitat units consist of 
approximately 288 km (179 mi) of riparian lands, including Canal 
Section Wildlife Management Area in Unit 1 (6 km (4 mi)); Sipsey River 
Natural Area in Unit 7 (16 km (10 mi)); William B. Bankhead National 
Forest in Unit 10 (134 km (83 mi)); Cahaba River National Wildlife 
Refuge (6 km (4 mi)) and Cahaba River Wildlife Management Area (28 km 
(17 mi)) in Unit 13; Tuskegee National Forest in Unit 17 (16 km (10 
mi)); Talladega National Forest in Unit 18 (15 km (9 mi)), Unit 19 (11 
km (7 mi)), Unit 20 (27 km (17mi)), and Unit 22 (11 km (7 mi)); and 
Chattahoochee National Forest in Unit 25 (18 km (11 mi)).

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Relationship to Section 7 of the Act

    The regulatory effects of a critical habitat designation under the 
Act are triggered through the provisions of section 7 of the Act, which 
applies only to activities conducted, authorized, or funded by a 
Federal agency (Federal actions). Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Individuals, organizations, States, local governments, and 
other non-Federal entities are not affected by the designation of 
critical habitat unless their actions occur on Federal lands, require 
Federal authorization, or involve Federal funding.
    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including us, 
to insure that their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of a listed species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of designated critical habitat. This requirement is met 
through a consultation under section 7 of the Act. Our regulations 
define ``jeopardize the continued existence'' as to engage in an action 
that reasonably would be expected, directly or indirectly, to reduce 
appreciably the likelihood of both the survival and recovery of a

[[Page 14770]]

listed species in the wild by reducing the reproduction, numbers, or 
distribution of that species (50 CFR 402.02). ``Destruction or adverse 
modification of designated critical habitat'' is defined as a direct or 
indirect alteration that appreciably diminishes the value of the 
critical habitat for both the survival and recovery of the species (50 
CFR 402.02). Such alterations include, but are not limited to, adverse 
changes to the physical or biological features, i.e., the primary 
constituent elements, that were the basis for determining the habitat 
to be critical.
    The relationship between a species' survival and its recovery has 
been a source of confusion to some in the past. We believe that a 
species' ability to recover depends on its ability to survive into the 
future when its recovery can be achieved; thus, the concepts of long-
term survival and recovery are intricately linked. However, in a March 
15, 2001, decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth 
Circuit (Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service et al., 245 F.3d 
434), the Court found our definition of destruction or adverse 
modification as currently contained in 50 CFR 402.02 to be invalid. In 
response to this decision, we are reviewing the regulatory definition 
of adverse modification in relation to the conservation of the species.

Conference for Proposed Critical Habitat

    Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with 
us on any action that is likely to result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of proposed critical habitat. The regulations for 
interagency cooperation regarding proposed critical habitat are 
codified at 50 CFR 402.10. During a conference on the effects of a 
Federal action on proposed critical habitat, we make non-binding 
recommendations on ways to minimize or avoid adverse effects of the 
action. We document these recommendations and any conclusions reached 
in a conference report provided to the Federal agency and to any 
applicant involved.
    If requested by the Federal agency and deemed appropriate by us, 
the conference may be conducted in accordance with the procedures for 
formal consultation under 50 CFR 402.14. We may adopt an opinion issued 
at the conclusion of the conference as our biological opinion when the 
critical habitat is designated by final rule, but only if new 
information or changes to the proposed Federal action would not 
significantly alter the content of the opinion.

Consultation for Designated Critical Habitat

    If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its designated 
critical habitat, the action agency must initiate consultation with us 
(50 CFR 402.14). Through this consultation, we will advise the agency 
whether the action would likely jeopardize the continued existence of 
the species or adversely modify its critical habitat, or both. The 
Services' Consultation Handbook states that the destruction or adverse 
modification analysis focuses on the entire critical habitat area 
designated unless the critical habitat rule identifies another basis 
for the analysis, such as discrete units or groups of units necessary 
for different life cycle phases or units representing distinctive 
habitat characteristics or gene pools, or units fulfilling essential 
geographic distribution requirements. The extent of the 11 mussels' 
decline, the fragmentation and isolation of their habitats and 
continuing impacts upon their habitats, and the importance of every 
unit to the recovery of the species suggests that individual units or 
groups of units that are used by populations which fulfill essential 
geographic distribution requirements are the appropriate scale for the 
analysis. In accordance with the Mobile River Aquatic Ecosystem 
Recovery Plan (2000), protection of the habitat in these units and 
their surviving populations is essential to the conservation of these 
11 mussel species. An action occurring only within one unit may 
appreciably reduce the value of the critical habitat for the recovery 
of the species and therefore trigger an adverse modification 
determination.
    When we issue a biological opinion that concludes that a specific 
action is likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification 
of critical habitat, we must provide reasonable and prudent 
alternatives to the action, if any are identifiable. Reasonable and 
prudent alternatives are actions identified during consultation that 
can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended purpose of 
the originally proposed action, are consistent with the scope of the 
action agency's authority and jurisdiction, are economically and 
technologically feasible, and would likely avoid the destruction or 
adverse modification of critical habitat (50 CFR 402.02).

Reinitiation of Prior Consultations

    A Federal agency may request a conference with us for any 
previously reviewed action that is likely to destroy or adversely 
modify proposed critical habitat and over which the agency retains 
discretionary involvement or control, as described above under 
``Conference for Proposed Critical Habitat.'' Following designation of 
critical habitat, regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require a Federal agency 
to reinitiate consultation for previously reviewed actions that may 
affect critical habitat and over which the agency has retained 
discretionary involvement or control.

Federal Actions That May Destroy or Adversely Modify 11 Mussels 
Critical Habitat

    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us, in any proposed or final 
rule designating critical habitat, to briefly describe and evaluate 
those activities that may adversely modify such habitat, or that may be 
affected by such designation.
    Federal actions that, when carried out, funded or authorized by a 
Federal agency, may destroy or adversely modify critical habitat for 
the 11 mussels include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Actions that would alter the minimum flow or the existing flow 
regime to a degree that appreciably reduces the value of the critical 
habitat for both the long-term survival and recovery of the species. 
Such activities could include, but are not limited to, impoundment, 
channelization, water diversion, and hydropower generation.
    (2) Actions that would significantly alter water chemistry or 
temperature to a degree that appreciably reduces the value of the 
critical habitat for both the long-term survival and recovery of the 
species. Such activities could include, but are not limited to, release 
of chemicals, biological pollutants, or heated effluents into the 
surface water or connected groundwater at a point source or by 
dispersed release (non-point).
    (3) Actions that would significantly increase sediment deposition 
within the stream channel to a degree that appreciably reduces the 
value of the critical habitat for both the longterm survival and 
recovery of the species. Such activities could include, but are not 
limited to, excessive sedimentation from livestock grazing, road 
construction, timber harvest, off-road vehicle use, and other watershed 
and floodplain disturbances.
    (4) Actions that would significantly increase the filamentous algal 
community within the stream channel to a degree that appreciably 
reduces the value of the critical habitat for both the longterm 
survival and recovery of the species. Such activities could include, 
but are not limited to, release of

[[Page 14771]]

nutrients into the surface water or connected groundwater at a point 
source or by dispersed release (non-point).
    (5) Actions that would significantly alter channel morphology or 
geometry to a degree that appreciably reduces the value of the critical 
habitat for both the longterm survival and recovery of the species. 
Such activities could include, but are not limited to, channelization, 
impoundment, road and bridge construction, mining, destruction of 
riparian vegetation.
    (6) Actions that would introduce, spread, or augment nonnative 
aquatic species into critical habitat to a degree that appreciably 
reduces the value of the critical habitat for both the longterm 
survival and recovery of the species. Such activities could include, 
but are not limited to, stocking for sport, biological control, or 
other purposes; aquaculture; and construction and operation of canals.

Previous Section 7 Consultations

    Federal actions that we have reviewed since these 11 mussel species 
received protection under the Act include Federal land management 
plans, Federal land acquisition and disposal, road and bridge 
maintenance and construction, water diversion, timber harvest on 
Federal land, channelization, flood control, channel maintenance, water 
quality standards, dam construction and operation, and issuance of 
permits under section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Federal agencies 
involved with these activities included the Army Corps of Engineers 
(COE), U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, 
Environmental Protection Agency, and Federal Highway Administration. 
Since the original listing of these 11 mussel species, seven formal 
consultations have been conducted. None of these resulted in a finding 
that the proposed action would jeopardize the continued existence of 
any of the 11 species.
    In each of the biological opinions resulting from these 
consultations, we included discretionary conservation recommendations 
to the action agency. Conservation recommendations are activities that 
would avoid or minimize the adverse effects of a proposed action on a 
listed species or its critical habitat, help implement recovery plans, 
or develop information useful to the species' conservation.
    Previous biological opinions also included nondiscretionary 
reasonable and prudent measures, with implementing terms and 
conditions, which are designed to minimize the proposed action's 
incidental take of these 11 mussels. Section 3(18) of the Act defines 
the term take as ``to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, 
trap, capture or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such 
conduct.'' Harm is further defined in our regulations (50 CFR 17.3) to 
include significant habitat modification or degradation that results in 
death or injury to listed species by significantly impairing essential 
behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering.
    Conservation recommendations and reasonable and prudent measures 
provided in previous biological opinions for these mussels have 
included maintaining State water quality standards, maintaining 
adequate stream flow rates, minimizing work in the wetted channel, 
restricting riparian clearing, monitoring channel morphology and mussel 
populations, installing signage, protecting buffer zones, avoiding 
pollution, using cooperative planning efforts, minimizing ground 
disturbance, using sediment barriers, relocating recreational trails, 
using best management practices to minimize erosion, and funding 
research useful for mussel conservation. In reviewing past formal 
consultations, we find that only one may need to be reinitiated as a 
result of this proposed designation.
    On October 3, 1994, we presented a Biological Opinion to the COE 
and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) concluding that the proposed 
construction and operation of the Tom Bevill Reservoir on the North 
River, Fayette County, Alabama, would not jeopardize the continued 
existence of the dark pigtoe and orange-nacre mucket (U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service 1994). The dam site lies within proposed critical 
habitat Unit 11. This dam has not been constructed. If the applicants 
determine to proceed with, construction plans, this dam may adversely 
modify critical habitat in the North River (Unit 11), and consultation 
should be reinitiated.
    The designation of critical habitat will have no impact on private 
landowner activities that do not require Federal funding or permits. 
Designation of critical habitat is only applicable to activities 
approved, funded, or carried out by Federal agencies.
    If you have questions regarding whether specific activities would 
constitute adverse modification of critical habitat, you may contact 
the following Service offices:

Alabama--Daphne, FWS Ecological Services Office (251/441-5181)
Georgia-Athens, FWS Ecological Services Office (706/613-9493)
Mississippi--Jackson, FWS Ecological Services Office (601/965-4900)
Tennessee-Cookeville, FWS Ecological Services Office (931/528-6481)

Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2)

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate critical 
habitat on the basis of the best scientific and commercial information 
available, and that we consider the economic and other relevant impacts 
of designating a particular area as critical habitat. We may exclude 
areas from critical habitat if the benefits of exclusion outweigh the 
benefits of designation, provided the exclusion will not result in the 
extinction of the species. We will conduct an analysis of the economic 
impacts of designating these areas as critical habitat prior to a final 
determination. That economic analysis will be conducted in a manner 
that is consistent with the ruling of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals 
in N.M. Cattle Growers Ass'n v. USFWS. When the draft economic analysis 
is completed, we will announce its availability with a notice in the 
Federal Register. With publication of the notice of availability, a 
comment period will be opened for a minimum of 30 days to allow for 
public comments on the draft economic analysis and proposed rule 
concurrently.

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend for any final action resulting from this proposal to be 
as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we solicit 
comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this proposed rule. We are particularly interested in 
comments concerning:
    (1) The reasons why any area should or should not be determined to 
be critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act and 50 CFR 
424.12(a)(1), including whether the benefits of designation will 
outweigh any threats to the species due to designation;
    (2) Specific information on the amount and distribution of habitat 
for these 11 mussel species, population numbers, and what habitat is 
essential to their conservation and why;
    (3) Whether areas within proposed critical habitat are currently 
being managed to address conservation needs of these mussel species;
    (4) Current or planned activities in the subject areas and their 
possible impacts on proposed critical habitats;
    (5) Any foreseeable economic or other impacts resulting from the 
proposed designation of critical habitat, in

[[Page 14772]]

particular, any impacts on small entities;
    (6) Economic and other values associated with designating critical 
habitat for these mussels, such as those derived from nonconsumptive 
uses (e.g., hiking, camping, wildlife-watching, enhanced watershed 
protection, improved air quality, increased soil retention, ``existence 
values,'' and reductions in administrative costs).
    If you wish to comment on this proposed rule, you may submit your 
comments and materials concerning this proposal by any one of several 
methods (see ADDRESSES section). Electronic comments (e-mail) should 
avoid the use of special characters and encryption. Please also include 
``Attn: [RIN 1018-AI73]'' and your name and return address in your e-
mail message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that 
we have received your e-mail message, contact us directly by calling 
our Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES section).
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Respondents may request that we withhold their home 
addresses from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to the extent 
allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which we would 
withhold a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us 
to withhold your name and/or address, you must state this prominently 
at the beginning of your comment. However, we will not consider 
anonymous comments. To the extent consistent with applicable law, we 
will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their 
entirety. Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
Service's Fish and Wildlife in Jackson, Mississippi (see ADDRESSES 
section).

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy published in the Federal 
Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of such review is to ensure 
that our critical habitat designation is based on scientifically sound 
data, assumptions, and analyses. We will send these peer reviewers 
copies of this proposed rule immediately following publication in the 
Federal Register. We will invite these peer reviewers to comment, 
during the public comment period, on the specific assumptions and 
conclusions regarding the proposed designation of critical habitat.
    We will consider all comments and information received during the 
comment period during preparation of a final rulemaking. Accordingly, 
the final decision may differ from this proposal.

Public Hearings

    The Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, 
if requested. Requests must be filed within 45 days of the date of this 
proposal. Such requests must be made in writing and should be addressed 
to the Field Supervisor, Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES section). Written comments submitted during the comment 
period receive equal consideration with those comments presented at a 
public hearing. We will schedule public hearings on this proposal, if 
any are requested, and announce the dates, times, and places of those 
hearings in the Federal Register and local newspapers at least 15 days 
prior to the first hearing.

Clarity of the Rule

    Executive Order 12866 requires each agency to write regulations/
notices that are easy to understand. We invite your comments on how to 
make proposed rules easier to understand, including answers to 
questions such as the following: (1) Are the requirements in the 
proposed rule clearly stated? (2) Does the proposed rule contain 
technical language or jargon that interferes with the clarity? (3) Does 
the format of the proposed rule (e.g., grouping and order of sections, 
use of headings, paragraphing) aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Is the 
description of the proposed rule in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section of the preamble helpful in understanding the proposed rule? 
What else could we do to make the proposed rule easier to understand?
    Send a copy of any comments that concern how we could make this 
proposed rule easier to understand to: Office of Regulatory Affairs, 
Department of the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C Street, NW, Washington, 
D.C. 20240. You may e-mail your comments to this address: 
[email protected].

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with Executive Order 12866, this document is a 
significant rule and was reviewed by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB). The Service is preparing a draft economic analysis of 
this proposed action, and will use this analysis to meet the 
requirement of section 4(b)(2) of the Act to determine the economic 
consequences of designating the specific areas as critical habitat and 
excluding any area from critical habitat if it is determined that the 
benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such 
areas as part of the critical habitat, unless failure to designate such 
area as critical habitat will lead to the extinction of any of these 11 
mussel species. This analysis will be made available for public comment 
before finalizing this designation.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice 
of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make 
available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that 
describes the effects of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). 
However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of 
the agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. SBREFA amended the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) to require Federal agencies to provide 
a statement of the factual basis for certifying that the rule will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. SBREFA also amended the RFA to require a certification 
statement. We are hereby certifying that this proposed rule will not 
have a significant effect on a substantial number of small entities.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations, such as independent nonprofit 
organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents, as well as small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). Small 
businesses include manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 
500 employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, 
retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in annual 
sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 
million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less than 
$11.5 million in annual business, and

[[Page 14773]]

agricultural businesses with annual sales less than $750,000.
    SBREFA does not explicitly define either ``substantial number'' or 
``significant economic impact.'' Consequently, to assess whether a 
``substantial number'' of small entities is affected by this 
designation, this analysis considers the relative number of small 
entities likely to be impacted in the area. Similarly, this analysis 
considers the relative cost of compliance on the revenues/profit 
margins of small entities in determining whether or not entities incur 
a ``significant economic impact.'' Only small entities that are 
expected to be directly affected by the designation are considered in 
this portion of the analysis. This approach is consistent with several 
judicial opinions related to the scope of the RFA (Mid-Tex Electric Co-
Op, Inc. v. F.E.R.C. and America Trucking Associations, Inc. v. EPA.).
    To determine if the rule would affect a substantial number of small 
entities, we considered the number of small entities affected within 
particular types of economic activities (e.g., housing development, 
grazing, oil and gas production, timber harvesting, etc.). We applied 
the ``substantial number'' test individually to each industry to 
determine if certification is appropriate. In estimating the numbers of 
small entities potentially affected, we also considered whether their 
activities have any Federal involvement; some kinds of activities are 
unlikely to have any Federal involvement and so will not be affected by 
critical habitat designation. Designation of critical habitat only 
affects activities conducted, funded, or permitted by Federal agencies; 
non-Federal activities are not affected by the designation. Federal 
agencies are already required to consult with the Services under 
section 7 of the Act on activities that they fund, permit, or implement 
that may affect the federally listed mussels discussed herein.
    If this critical habitat designation is finalized, Federal agencies 
must also consult with us if their activities may affect designated 
critical habitat. However, in areas where the mussel species are 
present, we believe this will result in only minimal additional 
regulatory burden on Federal agencies or their applicants because 
consultation would already be required due to the presence of the 
listed mussel species. Consultations to avoid the destruction or 
adverse modification of critical habitat would be incorporated into the 
existing consultation process and trigger only minimal additional 
regulatory impacts beyond the duty to avoid jeopardizing the species. 
In the area below Jordan Dam (lower Coosa River, Unit 26) where the 
mussel species are not present, we also believe designation of critical 
habitat will result in only minimal additional regulatory burden on 
Federal agencies or their applicants because consultations have been 
required, since 1991, due to the presence of the listed Tulotoma snail 
(56 FR 797, January 9, 1991).
    Since the 11 mussels were listed (March 17, 1993, 58 FR 14330), we 
have conducted 7 formal consultations involving 1 or more of these 11 
species. Four of the formal consultations involved Federal projects, 
including a flood control project by the COE, a horse trail system on 
the Talladega National Forest, programmatic activities by the Forest 
Service, and administration of the Clean Water Act in Alabama by the 
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Another formal consultation 
involved a COE permit to construct water withdrawal and discharge 
facilities for a gas powered electrical generating facility. These 5 
consultations resulted in non-jeopardy opinions, and had no economic 
effects on small entities. The other 2 consultations involved COE 
permits to small entities to construct dams; one on a stream that was 
occupied habitat of the fine-lined pocketbook, and the other on a river 
that was occupied by the orange-nacre mucket and dark pigtoe. 
Biological Opinions prepared by us for these consultations concluded 
the actions were ``not likely to jeopardize'' the species, and 
identified reasonable and prudent measures to reduce take of the 
species affected by the projects. In reviewing these 2 consultations in 
light of proposed critical habitat, we recognize that with critical 
habitat present, our analysis would also include a determination of 
whether the action would destroy or adversely modify the critical 
habitat. One of these dams has not been constructed, and reinitiation 
of consultation may be necessary if construction plans proceed, after 
this designation is finalized (see ``Previous Section 7 Consultations'' 
above).
    We also reviewed approximately 300 informal consultations that have 
been conducted since these 11 species were listed involving private 
businesses and industries, counties, cities, towns, or municipalities. 
At least 200 of these were with entities that likely met the definition 
of small entities. These informal consultations concerned activities 
such as excavation or fill, docking facilities, bridges, transmission 
lines, pipe lines, quarries, mines, housing developments, road and 
utility development, etc., authorized by COE, FERC, or EPA, or review 
of National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit applications 
to State water quality agencies by developers, municipalities, mines, 
businesses, and others. Informal consultations on Federal activities 
also included campground improvements, burning programs, and southern 
pine beetle control by the Forest Service. Informal consultations 
regarding the mussels usually resulted in recommendations to employ 
Best Management Practices for sediment control, relied on current State 
water quality standards for protection of water quality, and resulted 
in little to no modification of the proposed activities. In reviewing 
these past informal consultations and the activities involved in light 
of proposed critical habitat, we do not believe the outcomes would have 
been different in areas designated as critical habitat.
    In summary, we have considered whether this proposed designation 
would result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities and find that it would not. Informal consultations on 
approximately 300 activities in the Basin by businesses and 
governmental jurisdictions that might affect these species and their 
habitats resulted in little to no economic effect on small entities. In 
the decade since the 11 mussels were listed, there have been only 2 
formal consultations regarding actions by small entities, both of which 
culminated in findings which allowed the projects to go forward. Our 
review indicates that even if the outcomes of these 2 formal 
consultations had been quite different, in light of critical habitat 
designation, less than 1 percent of small entities affected by a 
designation would have experienced a significant economic impact. This 
does not meet the definition of ``substantial.'' In addition, there is 
no indication that the types of activities we review under section 7 of 
the Act will change significantly in the future. There would be no 
additional section 7 consultations resulting from this rule as 25 of 
the proposed critical habitat units are currently occupied by 1 or more 
listed mussels, and the lower Coosa River (Unit 26) is currently 
occupied by the endangered tulotoma snail (Tulotoma magnifica), so the 
consultation requirement has already been triggered. Future 
consultations are not likely to affect a substantial number of small 
entities. This rule would result in major project modifications only 
when proposed activities with a Federal nexus would destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat. While this may occur, it is not 
expected to occur frequently enough to affect a substantial

[[Page 14774]]

number of small entities. Therefore, we are certifying that the 
proposed designation of critical habitat for these 11 mussels will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities, and an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required. This determination will be revisited after the close of the 
comment period and revised, if necessary, in the final rule.
    This discussion is based upon the information regarding potential 
economic impact that is available to us at this time. This assessment 
of economic effect may be modified prior to final rulemaking based upon 
development and review of the draft economic analysis prepared pursuant 
to section 4(b)(2) of the ESA and E.O. 12866. This analysis is for the 
purposes of compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act and does not 
reflect our position on the type of economic analysis required by New 
Mexico Cattle Growers Assn. v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 248 F.3d 
1277 (10th Cir. 2001).

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (5 U.S.C. 802(2))

    In the draft economic analysis, we will determine whether 
designation of critical habitat will cause (a) any effect on the 
economy of $100 million or more, (b) any increases in costs or prices 
for consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local 
government agencies, or geographic regions, or (c) any significant 
adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, 
innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with 
foreign-based enterprises.

Executive Order 13211

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and 
use. Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. Although this rule is 
a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, it is not 
expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. 
Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action and no 
Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.) the Service will use the economic analysis to further evaluate 
this situation.

Takings

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630 (``Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property 
Rights''), this rule does not have significant takings implications. A 
takings implication assessment is not required. As discussed above, the 
designation of critical habitat affects only Federal agency actions. 
Since the proposed critical habitat includes only aquatic areas that 
are generally held in public trust, we believe that little or no 
private property is included in the proposed designation. Based on 
current public knowledge of the species protection and the prohibition 
against take of the species both within and outside of the designated 
areas, we do not anticipate that property values will be affected by 
the critical habitat designation. Additionally, critical habitat 
designation does not preclude development of habitat conservation plans 
and issuance of incidental take permits.

Federalism

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have 
significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment is not 
required. In keeping with Department of the Interior and Department of 
Commerce policy, the Service requested information from, and 
coordinated development of this critical habitat proposal with, 
appropriate State resource agencies in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, 
and Georgia, as well as during the listing process. The impact of the 
proposed designation on State and local governments and their 
activities is not believed to be significant, but this will be more 
fully examined in the economic analysis of the proposal, on which we 
will seek public comment. The designation may have some benefit to 
these governments in that the areas essential to the conservation of 
the species are more clearly defined, and the primary constituent 
elements of the habitat necessary to the survival of the species are 
specifically identified. While making this definition and 
identification does not alter where and what federally sponsored 
activities may occur, it may assist these local governments in long-
range planning, rather than waiting for case-by-case section 7 
consultations to occur.

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that the rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and does meet the requirements of sections 3(a) and 
3(b)(2) of the Order. We are proposing to designate critical habitat in 
accordance with the provisions of the Endangered Species Act. The rule 
uses standard property descriptions and identifies the primary 
constituent elements within the designated areas to assist the public 
in understanding the habitat needs of these 11 mussels.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This proposed rule does not contain new or revised information 
collection for which Office of Management and Budget approval is 
required under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Information collections 
associated with certain permits pursuant to the Endangered Species Act 
are covered by an existing OMB approval, and are assigned clearance No. 
1018-0094, with an expiration date of July 31, 2004. Detailed 
information for Act documentation appears at 50 CFR part 17. The 
Service may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to 
respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently 
valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    We have determined that we do not need to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement as defined by the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) in connection with 
regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the Act. We published a 
notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal 
Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and the Department 
of the Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal 
Tribes on a government-to-government basis. We have determined that 
there are no Tribal lands essential for the conservation of the 11 
mussels. Therefore, designation of critical habitat for the 11 mussels 
has not been proposed on Tribal lands.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this proposed rule is 
available upon

[[Page 14775]]

request from the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES 
section).

Author

    The primary author of this notice is Paul Hartfield (see ADDRESSES 
section), 601/321-1125.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons outlined in the preamble, we propose to amend part 
17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations, as follows:

PART 17--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. In section 17.11(h), revise each of the entries here listed, in 
alphabetical order under ``CLAMS'', to the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife to read as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species                                                   Vertebrate
-------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                   Critical     Special
                                                           Historic range        endangered or         Status      When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name               Scientific name                              threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
              Clams
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Acornshell, southern.............  Epioblasma           U.S.A. (AL,GA,TN)..  NA                    E                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
                                    othcaloogensis.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Clubshell, ovate.................  Pleurobema           U.S.A.               NA                    E                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
                                    perovatum.           (AL,TN,GA,MS).
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Clubshell, southern..............  Pleurobema decisum.  U.S.A.               NA                    E                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
                                                         (AL,TN,GA,MS).
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Combshell, upland................  Epioblasma           U.S.A. (AL,GA,TN)..  NA                    E                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
                                    metastriata.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Kidneyshell, triangular..........  Ptychobranchus       U.S.A. (AL,GA,TN)..  NA                    E                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
                                    greenii.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Moccasinshell, Alabama...........  Medionidus           U.S.A. (AL,GA,MS)..  NA                    T                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
                                    acutissimus.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Moccasinshell Coosa,.............  Medionidus parvulus  U.S.A. (AL,GA,TN)..  NA                    E                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Mucket, orange-nacre.............  Lampsilis perovalis  U.S.A. (AL,MS).....  NA                    T                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Pigtoe, dark.....................  Pleurobema furvum..  U.S.A. (AL)........  NA                    E                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Pigtoe, southern.................  Pleurobema           U.S.A. (AL,GA,TN)..  NA                    E                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
                                    georgianum.
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Pocketbook, fine-lined...........  Lampsilis altilis..  U.S.A. (AL,GA).....  NA                    T                       495    17.95 (f)           NA
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    3. In Sec.  17.95, at the end of paragraph (f), add an entry for 11 
Mobile River Basin mussel species to read as follows:


Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat-fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (f) Clams and snails. * * *
    Eleven Mobile River Basin mussel species: southern acornshell 
(Epioblasma othcaloogensis), ovate clubshell (Pleurobema perovatum), 
southern clubshell (Pleurobema decisum), upland combshell (Epioblasma 
metastriata), triangular kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus greeni), Alabama 
moccasinshell (Medionidus acutissimus), Coosa moccasinshell (Medionidus 
parvulus), orange-nacre mucket (Lampsilis perovalis), dark pigtoe 
(Pleurobema furvum), southern pigtoe (Pleurobema georgianum), and fine-
lined pocketbook (Lampsilis altilis)
    (1) The primary constituent elements essential for the conservation 
of the southern acornshell (Epioblasma

[[Page 14776]]

othcaloogensis), ovate clubshell (Pleurobema perovatum), southern 
clubshell (Pleurobema decisum), upland combshell (Epioblasma 
metastriata); triangular kidneyshell (Ptychobranchus greeni), Alabama 
moccasinshell (Medionidus acutissimus), Coosa moccasinshell (Medionidus 
parvulus), orange-nacre mucket (Lampsilis perovalis), dark pigtoe 
(Pleurobema furvum), southern pigtoe (Pleurobema georgianum), and fine-
lined pocketbook (Lampsilis altilis) are those habitat components that 
support feeding, sheltering, reproduction, and physical features for 
maintaining the natural processes that support these habitat 
components. The primary constituent elements include:
    (i) Geomorphically stable stream and river channels and banks;
    (ii) A flow regime (i.e., the magnitude, frequency, duration, and 
seasonality of discharge over time) necessary for normal behavior, 
growth, and survival of all life stages of mussels and their fish hosts 
in the river environment;
    (iii) Water quality, including temperature, pH, hardness, 
turbidity, oxygen content, and other chemical characteristics, 
necessary for normal behavior, growth, and viability of all life 
stages;
    (iv) Sand, gravel, and/or cobble substrates with low to moderate 
amounts of fine sediment, low amounts of attached filamentous algae, 
and other physical and chemical characteristics necessary for normal 
behavior, growth, and viability of all life stages;
    (v) Fish hosts, with adequate living, foraging, and spawning areas 
for them; and
    (vi) Few or no competitive nonnative species present.
    (2) Critical habitat unit descriptions and maps.
    (i) Index map. The index map showing critical habitat units in the 
States of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee for the 11 
Mobile River Basin mussel species follows:

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14777]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.001

    (ii) Table of protected species and critical habitat units. A table 
listing the protected species, their respective critical habitat units, 
and the States which contain those habitat units follows. Detailed 
critical habitat unit descriptions and maps appear below the table.

[[Page 14778]]



    Table of Eleven Mobile River Basin Mussel Species, Their Critical
    Habitat Units, and States Containing Those Critical Habitat Units
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Species                   Critical habitat units    States
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Southern acornshell (Epioblasma      Units 13, 18, 19, 21, 24,    AL,
 othcaloogensis).                     25, 26.                     GA,
                                                                  TN.
Ovate clubshell (Pleurobema          Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,   AL,
 perovatum).                          8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17,   GA,
                                      18, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26.     MS,
                                                                  TN.
Southern clubshell (Pleurobema       Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,   AL,
 decisum).                            8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18,   GA,
                                      19, 21, 24, 25, 26.         MS,
                                                                  TN.
Upland combshell (Epioblasma         Units 12, 13, 18, 19, 21,    AL,
 metastriata).                        24, 25, 26.                 GA,
                                                                  TN.
Triangular kidneyshell               Units 10, 11, 12, 13, 18,    AL,
 (Ptychobranchus greeni).             19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24,     GA,
                                      25, 26.                     TN.
Alabama moccasinshell (Medionidus    Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,   AL,
 acutissimus).                        8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15,   GA,
                                      25, 26.                     MS,
                                                                  TN.
Coosa moccasinshell (Medionidus      Units 18, 19, 20, 21, 22,    AL,
 parvulus).                           23, 24, 25, 26.             GA,
                                                                  TN.
Orangenacre mucket (Lampsilis        Units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,   AL, MS
 perovalis).                          8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,
                                      15.
Dark pigtoe (Pleurobema furvum)....  Units 10, 11, 12...........   AL
Southern pigtoe (Pleurobema          Units 18, 19, 20, 21, 22,    AL,
 georgianum).                         23, 24, 25, 26.             GA,
                                                                  TN.
Fine-lined pocketbook (Lampsilis     Units 13, 16, 17, 18, 19,    AL,
 altilis).                            20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26. GA,
                                                                  TN.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (iii) Unit 1. East Fork Tombigbee River, Monroe, Itawamba County, 
Mississippi. This is a critical habitat unit for the ovate clubshell, 
southern clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and orangenacre mucket.
    (A) Unit 1 includes the East Fork Tombigbee River main stem from 
Mississippi Highway 278 (T13S R7E S3), Monroe County, upstream to the 
confluence of Mill Creek (T11S R8E S24), Itawamba County, Mississippi.
    (B) Map of Unit 1 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14779]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.002

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (iv) Unit 2. Bull Mountain Creek, Itawamba County, Mississippi. 
This is a critical habitat unit for the ovate

[[Page 14780]]

clubshell, southern clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and orangenacre 
mucket.
    (A) Unit 2 includes the main stem of Bull Mountain Creek from 
Mississippi Highway 25 (T11S R9E S30), upstream to U.S. Highway 78 
(T10S R10E S6), Itawamba County, Mississippi.
    (B) Map of Unit 2 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14781]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.003

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (v) Unit 3. Buttahatchee River and Sipsey Creek, Lowndes/Monroe 
County, Mississippi; Lamar County, Alabama. This is a critical habitat 
unit for the

[[Page 14782]]

ovate clubshell, southern clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and 
orangenacre mucket.
    (A) Unit 3 includes the Buttahatchee River main stem from its 
confluence with the Tombigbee River (T16S R19W S23), Lowndes/Monroe 
County, Mississippi, upstream to the confluence of Beaver Creek (T13S 
R15W S17), Lamar County, Alabama; and Sipsey Creek, from its confluence 
with the Buttahatchee River (T14S R17W S2), upstream to the 
Mississippi/Alabama State Line (T12S R10E S21), Monroe County, 
Mississippi.
    (B) Map of Unit 3 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14783]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.004

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (vi) Unit 4. Luxapalila Creek and Yellow Creek, Lowndes County, 
Mississippi; Lamar County, Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit for 
the

[[Page 14784]]

ovate clubshell, southern clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and 
orangenacre mucket.
    (A) Unit 4 includes the Luxapalila Creek main stem from Waterworks 
Road (T18S R18W S11), Columbus, Mississippi, upstream to approximately 
1.0 km (0.6 mi) above Steens Road (T17S R17W S27), Lowndes County, 
Mississippi; and the Yellow Creek main stem from its confluence with 
Luxapalila Creek (T17S R17W S21), Lowndes County, Mississippi, upstream 
to the confluence of Cut Bank Creek (T16S R16W S30), Lamar County, 
Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 4 follows:
BILLIING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14785]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.005

BILLIING CODE 4310-55-C
    (vii) Unit 5. Coalfire Creek, Pickens County, Alabama. This is a 
critical habitat unit for the ovate clubshell,

[[Page 14786]]

southern clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and orangenacre mucket.
    (A) Unit 5 includes the Coalfire Creek main stem from its 
confluence with Aliceville Lake (Tombigbee River, T20S R17W S26), 
upstream to U.S. Highway 82 (T19S R15W S15), Pickens County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 5 follows:
BILLIING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14787]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.006

BILLIING CODE 4310-55-C
    (viii) Unit 6. Lubbub Creek, Pickens County, Alabama. This is a 
critical habitat unit for the ovate clubshell,

[[Page 14788]]

southern clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and orangenacre mucket.
    (A) Unit 6 includes the main stem of Lubbub Creek from its 
confluence with Gainesville Lake (Tombigbee River, T24N R2W S11), 
upstream to the confluence of Little Lubbub Creek (T21S R1W S34), 
Pickens County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 6 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14789]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.007

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (ix) Unit 7. Sipsey River, Greene/Pickens, Tuscaloosa Counties, 
Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit for the ovate clubshell, 
southern clubshell,

[[Page 14790]]

Alabama moccasinshell, and orangenacre mucket.
    (A) Unit 7 includes the Sipsey River main stem from its confluence 
with Gainesville Lake (Tombigbee River, T24N R1W S30), Greene/Pickens 
County, upstream to Alabama Highway 171 crossing (T18S R12W S34), 
Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 7 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14791]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.008

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (x) Unit 8. Trussels Creek, Greene County, Alabama. This is a 
critical habitat unit for the ovate clubshell,

[[Page 14792]]

southern clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and orangenacre mucket.
    (A) Unit 8 includes the Trussels Creek main stem from its 
confluence with the Tombigbee River (T21N R2W S15), upstream to Alabama 
Highway 14 (T22N R1E S4), Greene County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 8 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14793]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.009

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xi) Unit 9. Sucarnoochee River, Sumter County, Alabama. This is a 
critical habitat unit for the ovate

[[Page 14794]]

clubshell, southern clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and orangenacre 
mucket.
    (A) Unit 9 includes the Sucarnoochee River main stem from its 
confluence with the Tombigbee River (T17N R1W S26), upstream to the 
Mississippi/Alabama State Line (T19N R4W S15), Sumter County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 9 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14795]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.010

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xii) Unit 10. Sipsey Fork and tributaries, Winston, Lawrence 
Counties, Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit for the ovate 
clubshell,

[[Page 14796]]

triangular kidneyshell, Alabama moccasinshell, orangenacre mucket, and 
dark pigtoe.
    (A) Unit 10 includes the Sipsey Fork main stem from the section 11/
12 line (T10S R8W), Winston County, Alabama, upstream to the confluence 
of Hubbard Creek (T8S R9W S27), Lawrence County, Alabama; Thompson 
Creek, from its confluence with Hubbard Creek (T8S R9W S27), upstream 
to section 2 line (T8S R9W) Lawrence County; Brushy Creek, from the 
confluence of Glover Creek (T10S R7W S11), Winston County, upstream to 
section 9 (T8S R7W), Lawrence County; Capsey Creek, from confluence 
with Brushy Creek (T9S R7W S23), Winston County, upstream to the 
confluence of Turkey Creek (T8S R6W S33), Lawrence County; Rush Creek, 
from confluence with Brushy Creek (T9S R7W S15), upstream to Winston/
Lawrence County Line (T9S R7W S1), Winston County; Brown Creek, from 
confluence with Rush Creek (T9S R7W S2), Winston County, upstream to 
section 24 line (T8S R7W), Lawrence County; Beech Creek, from 
confluence with Brushy Creek (T9S R7W S8), to confluence of East and 
West Forks (T9S R7W S6), Winston County; Caney Creek and North Fork 
Caney Creek, from confluence with Sipsey Fork (T9S R8W S28), upstream 
to section 14 line (T9S R9W), Winston County; Borden Creek, from 
confluence with Sipsey Fork (T8S R8W S5), Winston County, upstream to 
the confluence of Montgomery Creek (T8S R8W S10), Lawrence County; and 
Flannagin Creek, from confluence with Borden Creek (T8S R8W S28), 
upstream to confluence of Dry Creek (T8S R8W S4), Lawrence County.
    (B) Maps of Unit 10 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14797]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.011


[[Page 14798]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.012


[[Page 14799]]


[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.013

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xiii) Unit 11. North River and Clear Creek, Tuscaloosa, Fayette 
Counties, Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit for the ovate 
clubshell, triangular

[[Page 14800]]

kidneyshell, Alabama moccasinshell, orangenacre mucket, and dark 
pigtoe.
    (A) Unit 11 includes the main stem of the North River from 
Tuscaloosa County Road 38 (T18S R10W S16), Tuscaloosa County, upstream 
to confluence of Ellis Creek (T16S R10W S6), Fayette County, Alabama; 
and Clear Creek from its confluence with North River (T16S R11W S13) to 
Bays Lake Dam (T16S R11W S2), Fayette County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 11 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14801]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.014

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xiv) Unit 12. Locust Fork and Little Warrior Rivers, Jefferson, 
Blount Counties, Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit for the ovate 
clubshell,

[[Page 14802]]

upland combshell, triangular kidneyshell, Alabama moccasinshell, 
orangenacre mucket, and dark pigtoe.
    (A) Unit 12 includes the Locust Fork main stem from U.S. Highway 78 
(T15S R4W S30), Jefferson County, upstream to the confluence of Little 
Warrior River (T13S R1W S3), Blount County, Alabama; and Little Warrior 
River from its confluence with the Locust Fork (T13S R1W S3), upstream 
to the confluence of Calvert Prong and Blackburn Fork (T13S R1W S12), 
Blount County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 12 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14803]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.015

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xv) Unit 13. Cahaba River and Little Cahaba River, Jefferson, 
Shelby, Bibb Counties, Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit for the 
southern acornshell,

[[Page 14804]]

ovate clubshell, southern clubshell, upland combshell, triangular 
kidneyshell, Alabama moccasinshell, orangenacre mucket, and fine-lined 
pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 13 includes the Cahaba River from U.S. Highway 82 (T23N 
R9E S26), Centerville, Bibb County, upstream to Jefferson County Road 
143 (T18S R1E S33), Jefferson County, Alabama; and the Little Cahaba 
River from its confluence with the Cahaba River (T24N R10E S21), 
upstream to the confluence of Mahan and Shoal Creeks (T24N R11E S14), 
Bibb County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 13 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14805]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.016

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xvi) Unit 14. Alabama River, Autauga, Lowndes, Dallas Counties, 
Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit

[[Page 14806]]

for the southern clubshell and orangenacre mucket.
    (A) Unit 14 includes the Alabama River from the confluence of the 
Cahaba River (T16N R10E S32), Dallas County, upstream to the confluence 
of Big Swamp Creek (T15N R12E S1), Lowndes County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 14 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14807]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.017

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xvii) Unit 15. Bogue Chitto Creek, Dallas County, Alabama. This is 
a critical habitat unit for the southern

[[Page 14808]]

clubshell, Alabama moccasinshell, and orangenacre mucket.
    (A) Unit 15 includes the Bogue Chitto Creek main stem from its 
confluence with the Alabama River (T14N R8E S24), Dallas County, 
upstream to U.S. Highway 80 (T17N R7E S24), Dallas County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 15 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14809]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.018

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xviii) Unit 16. Tallapoosa River, Cleburne County, Alabama, and 
Paulding, Haralson Counties, Georgia; Cane Creek, Cleburne County, 
Alabama.

[[Page 14810]]

This is a critical habitat unit for the fine-lined pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 16 includes the main stem Tallapoosa River from U.S. 
Highway 431 (T17S R10E S31), Cleburne County, Alabama, upstream to the 
confluence of McClendon and Mud Creeks (33 [deg]50' 43''N 85 
[deg]00'45'' W), Paulding County, Georgia; and Cane Creek from its 
confluence with Tallapoosa River (T16S R10E S24), upstream to section 
33/4 Line (T15S, R11E), Cleburne County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 16 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14811]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.019

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xix) Unit 17. Uphapee, Choctafaula, and Chewacla Creeks, Macon, 
Lee Counties, Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit for the ovate 
clubshell,

[[Page 14812]]

southern clubshell, and fine-lined pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 17 includes the mainstem of Uphapee Creek from Alabama 
Highway 199 (T17N R23E S3), upstream to the confluence of Opintlocco 
and Chewacla Creeks (T17N R24E S26), Macon County, Alabama; Choctafaula 
Creek, from confluence with Uphapee Creek (T17N R24E S8), upstream to 
Macon County Road 54 (T18N R 25E S31), Macon County, Alabama; Chewacla 
Creek, from confluence with Opintlocco Creek (T17N R24E S26), Macon 
County, Alabama, upstream to Lee County Road 159 (T18N R26E S18), Lee 
County, Alabama; Opintlocco Creek, from confluence with Chewacla Creek 
(T17N R24E S26), upstream to Macon County Road 79 (T16N R25E S25) Macon 
County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 17 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14813]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.020

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xx) Unit 18. Coosa River (Old River Channel) and Terrapin Creek, 
Cherokee, Calhoun, Cleburne Counties, Alabama. This is a critical 
habitat unit for the

[[Page 14814]]

southern acornshell, ovate clubshell, southern clubshell, upland 
combshell, triangular kidneyshell, Coosa moccasinshell, southern 
pigtoe, and fine-lined pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 18 includes the Coosa River main stem from the power line 
crossing southeast of Maple Grove, Alabama (T10S R8E S35), upstream to 
Weiss Dam (T10S R8E S13), Cherokee County, Alabama; Terrapin Creek, 53 
km (33 mi) extending from its confluence with the Old Coosa River 
channel (T10S R9E S28), Cherokee County, upstream to Cleburne County 
Road 49 (T13S R11E S15), Cleburne County, Alabama; South Fork Terrapin 
Creek, 7 km (4 mi), from its confluence with Terrapin Creek (T13S R11E 
S18), upstream to Cleburne County Road 55 (T13S R11E S30), Cleburne 
County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 18 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14815]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.021

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xxi) Unit 19. Hatchet Creek, Coosa, Clay Counties, Alabama. This 
is a critical habitat unit for the southern acornshell, ovate 
clubshell, southern

[[Page 14816]]

clubshell, upland combshell, triangular kidneyshell, Coosa 
moccasinshell, southern pigtoe, and fine-lined pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 19 includes the main stem of Hatchet Creek from the 
confluence of Swamp Creek at Coosa County Road 29 (T22N R17E S26), 
Coosa County, Alabama, upstream to Clay County Road 4 (T22S R6E S17) 
Clay County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 19 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14817]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.022

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xxii) Unit 20. Shoal Creek, Calhoun, Cleburne Counties, Alabama. 
This is a critical habitat unit for the triangular kidneyshell, Coosa 
moccasinshell,

[[Page 14818]]

southern pigtoe, and fine-lined pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 20 includes the main stem of Shoal Creek from the 
headwater of Whitesides Mill Lake (T15S R9E S12), Calhoun County, 
Alabama, upstream to the tailwater of Coleman Lake Dam (T14S R10E S26), 
Cleburne County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 20 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14819]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.023

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xxiii) Unit 21. Kelly Creek and Shoal Creek, Shelby, St. Clair 
Counties, Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit for the southern 
acornshell, ovate

[[Page 14820]]

clubshell, southern clubshell, upland combshell, triangular 
kidneyshell, Coosa moccasinshell, southern pigtoe, and fine-lined 
pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 21 includes the Kelly Creek main stem extending from the 
confluence with the Coosa River (T19S R3E S5), upstream to the 
confluence of Shoal Creek (T17S R2E S28), St. Clair County, Alabama; 
and the main stem of Shoal Creek from the confluence with Kelly Creek 
(T17S R2E S28), St. Clair County, Alabama, upstream to the St. Clair/
Shelby County Line (T17S R2E S30), St. Clair County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 21 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14821]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.024

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xxiv) Unit 22. Cheaha Creek, Talladega, Clay Counties, Alabama. 
This is a critical habitat unit for the triangular kidneyshell, Coosa

[[Page 14822]]

moccasinshell, southern pigtoe, and fine-lined pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 22 includes the main stem of Cheaha Creek from its 
confluence with Choccolocco Creek (T17S R6E S19), Talladega County, 
Alabama, upstream to the tailwater of Chinnabee Lake Dam (T18S R7E 
S14), Clay County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 22 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14823]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.025

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xxv) Unit 23. Yellowleaf Creek and Mud Creek, Shelby County, 
Alabama. This is a critical habitat unit for the triangular 
kidneyshell, Coosa

[[Page 14824]]

moccasinshell, southern pigtoe, and fine-lined pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 23 includes the Yellowleaf Creek main stem from Alabama 
Highway 25 (T20S R2E S29), upstream to Shelby County Road 49 (T20S R1W 
S13); and the Muddy Prong main stem extending from its confluence with 
Yellowleaf Creek (T20S R1E S1), upstream to U.S. Highway 280 (T19S R1E 
S28), Shelby County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 23 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14825]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.026

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xxvi) Unit 24. Big Canoe Creek, St. Clair County, Alabama. This is 
a critical habitat unit for the southern acornshell, ovate clubshell, 
southern clubshell,

[[Page 14826]]

upland combshell, triangular kidneyshell, Coosa moccasinshell, southern 
pigtoe, and fine-lined pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 24 includes the main stem of Big Canoe Creek from its 
confluence with Little Canoe Creek at the St. Clair/Etowah County line 
(T13S R5E S17), St. Clair County, upstream to the confluence of Fall 
Branch (T14S R1E S28) St. Clair County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 24 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14827]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.027

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xxvii) Unit 25. Oostanaula, Coosawattee, and Conasauga Rivers, and 
Holly Creek, Floyd, Gordon, Whitfield, Murray Counties, Georgia; 
Bradley, Polk

[[Page 14828]]

Counties, Tennessee. This is a critical habitat unit for the southern 
acornshell, ovate clubshell, southern clubshell, upland combshell, 
triangular kidneyshell, Alabama moccasinshell, Coosa moccasinshell, 
southern pigtoe, and fine-lined pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 25 includes the Oostanaula River main stem from its 
confluence with the Etowah River, Floyd County, Georgia 
(34[deg]15'13''N, 85[deg]10'35''W), upstream to the confluence of the 
Conasauga and Coosawattee River, Gordon County, Georgia 
(34[deg]32'32''N, 84[deg]54'12''W); the Coosawattee River main stem 
from its confluence with the Conasauga River (34[deg]32'32''N, 
84[deg]54'12''W), upstream to Georgia State Highway 136, Gordon County, 
Georgia (34[deg]36'49''N, 84[deg]46'43''W); the Conasauga River main 
stem from confluence with the Coosawattee River (34[deg]32'32''N, 
84[deg]54'13''W), Gordon County, Georgia, upstream through Bradley and 
Polk Counties, Tennessee, to Murray County Road 2 (34[deg]58'27''N, 
84[deg]38'43''W), Murray County, Georgia; and the main stem of Holly 
Creek from its confluence with the Conasauga River (34[deg]42'12''N, 
84[deg]53'29''W), upstream to its confluence with Rock Creek, Murray 
County, Georgia (34[deg]46'59''N, 84[deg]45'25''W).
    (B) Map of Unit 25 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14829]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.028

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (xxviii) Unit 26. Lower Coosa River, Elmore County, Alabama. This 
is a critical habitat unit for the southern acornshell, ovate 
clubshell, southern

[[Page 14830]]

clubshell, upland combshell, triangular kidneyshell, Alabama 
moccasinshell, Coosa moccasinshell, southern pigtoe, and fine-lined 
pocketbook.
    (A) Unit 26 includes the Coosa River main stem from Alabama State 
Highway 111 bridge (T18N R18/19E S24/19), upstream to Jordan Dam (T19N 
R18E S22), Elmore County, Alabama.
    (B) Map of Unit 26 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 14831]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP26MR03.029


[[Page 14832]]


* * * * *

    Dated: March 17, 2003.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 03-6903 Filed 3-25-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-C