Freshwater mid-Atlantic mussel will be listed as threatened

NORFOLK, Va. - A freshwater mussel that's found in the nation's mid-Atlantic region will soon be listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the listing will take effect in May for the yellow lance mussel. The species can be found in Maryland's Patuxent River, North Carolina's Neuse River and Virginia's James River, among others.

The agency attributed poor water quality to the mussel's decline. Specifically, too much sediment, pesticides and municipal waste flowed into waterways where the mussels live.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife said partnerships with state agencies and others have been established to improve conditions for the mussel.

Its name comes from its two bright yellow hinged and elongated shells. They were once used to make buttons.

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