"TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Federal regulators designated two U.S. freshwater mussels as threatened on Wednesday, a further sign of trouble for native mollusks that help cleanse waters by filtering out pollutants as they feed.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it was granting protection to longsolid and round hickorynut mussels, which have declined in many Eastern and Midwestern streams.
The primary cause is habitat damage from urban sprawl, farming, oil and gas development, pipelines and mining. Other factors include competition from nonnative mussels and rising stream temperatures linked to climate change.
“Both of these mussels have suffered proverbial deaths from a thousand cuts,” said Gary Peeples, deputy supervisor of the agency’s field office in Asheville, North Carolina. “A lot of little things have added up.”"