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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact:  (505) 476-8000
dan.williams@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JUNE 11, 2013:

HABITAT FUNDS ASSIST RECOVERY OF HORNSHELL MUSSEL, GRAY REDHORSE

musselsLOVING – Two species of wildlife considered threatened or endangered in New Mexico have been returned to the Delaware River in the southeastern corner of the state, thanks to the Habitat Stamp Program money provided by those who buy licenses to hunt, fish or trap in the state.

The state endangered Texas hornshell mussel had not been seen in the Delaware for a century, said Brian Lang, invertebrate biologist for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The recovery of the mussel required reintroduction of the gray redhorse, a state threatened native fish, a species that plays an important role in Texas hornshell reproduction.

These reintroductions were made possible by habitat improvements using $149,000.00 provided by the Habitat Stamp Program.

“It’s exciting that sportsmen and women are playing a key role in the recovery of these two species through their funding,” said Director Jim Lane. “I have repeatedly said that hunting, fishing and trapping pay for wildlife conservation in New Mexico, including those species that are imperiled. The Department is excited about working with our partners at BLM to monitor success.”

The Texas hornshell mussel is native to the Pecos River system. The Delaware River is now the second stream in the system where it occurs. Native fish such as the gray redhorse act as hosts for the mussel, transporting larval stage mussels throughout a stream until they develop enough to release their holds on the fish and begin independent lives on stream bottoms.

The Delaware River is found on property managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
BLM New Mexico State Director Jesse Juen said, “We appreciate all of the sportsmen and women who purchase Habitat Stamps, the program that funded riparian restoration along the Delaware River. “Habitat restoration is not only benefiting these two rare native species, but also the entire ecosystem.”

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