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Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the False Spike and Texas Fawnsfoot in the Brazos River Basin






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Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the False Spike and Texas Fawnsfoot in the Brazos River Basin

Over the past two years, the Brazos River Authority has been negotiating a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The CCAA solidifies a voluntary partnership between the BRA and the USFWS to address the conservation needs of the two Brazos basin species of freshwater mussels currently under review for Endangered Species Act protection.

Two federal candidate-listed freshwater mussels are known to occur in the Brazos River basin. The Texas fawnsfoot, Truncilla macrodon, and the false spike, Fusconaia mitchelli, are currently under consideration for federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to publish its final decision on the species status in late 2020. Federal law created three main categories where a species in danger may be placed:

  • threatened,
  • endangered, and
  • candidate.

A candidate species is a plant or animal that has the potential for being listed as either threatened or endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, but it is a species that the agency does not have the resources to move forward in listing at that time.

The CCAA includes activities related to research and monitoring to further knowledge of the two species, avoidance to protect existing populations, education and outreach from engaging the public and employing both collaborative conservation and adaptive management principles. It also includes the development of conservation zones and future hydrology modeling to prioritize areas for implementation of specific conservation measures designed to reduce current and future threats to the species.

The CCAA was submitted to USFWS for formal consideration in August 2020. It is anticipated that it will undergo at least a six-month review process by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service before being finalized .