Officials say saving rare mussel could help restore river - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

Officials say saving rare mussel could help restore river

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - Officials are hoping efforts to save a rare mussel found in southeast New Mexico could lead to restoring a struggling river back to its past strength.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports a stretch of the Black River south of Carlsbad is home to about 48,000 Texas hornshell mussels.

Hornshells were once plentiful in areas near Carlsbad and Roswell, but now they occupy about 12 percent of their historic range.

Endangered species advocate Taylor Jones says the mussels are imperiled, indicating habitat problems from river industrial uses.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requested last year for the mussel to be listed as an endangered species. A final determination is expected in February.

Landowners along the river oppose the action, claiming it could impose federal regulations that would impede their water rights.

Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus, http://www.currentargus.com/

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