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More Mussels, More Questions

Natural Resources: More Mussels, More Questions

(AUSTIN) — In the debut edition of its Natural Resources newsletter, the Texas Comptroller’s office reveals the discovery of rare, state-protected freshwater mussels within the jurisdiction of the Lower Neches Valley Authority in southeast Texas. The development of Louisiana pigtoes and Texas heelsplitters in new portions of the Neches River drainage area could affect reviews of the species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). 

This issue of the newsletter also explores an ongoing initiative in Matagorda Bay, nestled along the sprawling Texas coastline, where Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi researchers are gathering information on several species of endangered and threatened sea turtles and birds and the habitats that support them. Also, the issue highlights species with pending federal listing decisions — the Texas kangaroo rat in North Texas and the western chicken turtle in East Texas. 

The Natural Resources newsletter will be updated periodically with news and features on imperiled, threatened, and endangered species across Texas. Since 2009, the Texas Legislature has directed the Comptroller’s office to take a leadership role in protecting the state’s natural resources while avoiding needless restrictions on economic growth. The Comptroller’s natural resources program funds research at state universities to inform the Endangered Species Act (ESA) decisions and help communities and stakeholders develop voluntary conservation programs. 

“The latest partnership among local stakeholders, scientists, and federal regulators in Southeast Texas exemplify the natural resources program’s ongoing efforts to identify the objective, science-based solutions to our state’s conservation challenges,” Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said. “It’s important to continue this collaboration so that future decisions, which could have tremendous and far-reaching impacts on the Texas economy, can be based on accurate science.” 

Earlier this year, research funded by the Comptroller’s office and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department led FWS to determine that there should be the removal of two Texas mussels from the list of candidate species under the federal ESA. 

Go to the Comptroller’s website to read the latest Natural Resources newsletter.