New River Crayfish Range Wide Status Assessment

The New River crayfish, (Cambarus chasmodactylus), was described in 1966 from the East Fork of the Greenbrier River, West Virginia, and historically occurred throughout the New River Basin from the Greenbrier River sub-basin in West Virginia, upstream through Virginia, and into the headwaters of the South Fork New River in North Carolina. The New River crayfish was part of a federal listing species petition in 2010 and it is currently being evaluated for listing as either threatened or endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered Species Act. In order to understand the current distribution and status of this species, a range-wide assessment was undertaken by various organizations and agencies in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Biological information was summarized, including species description, habitat use, life history, and current distribution. All historical and recent collections were compared and spatially displayed using GIS software. The New River crayfish was collected in three 8-digit hydrologic unit codes (HUCs) and 14 counties in three states, with the majority of occurrences in the Upper New and Greenbrier River sub-basins. Occurences were reported in 92 12-digit HUCs and in approximately 100 different streams throughout the range. Current records, from 2000-2014, show New River crayfish in 54 12-digit HUCS and 13 counties in three states. Given the wide distribution of this species in the New River Basin, localized high abundances where it occurs, lack of any major threats, and the existing protections in the New River Basin, the New River crayfish is considered stable, and therefore does not warrant federal listing at this time.

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