VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Federal authorities say several Florida plants and a Suwannee River mussel should be protected as threatened or endangered species.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pollution, sedimentation and reduced water flows have led to the decline of the Suwannee moccasinshell mussel across the Suwannee River basin in Florida and Georgia.
Officials say the moccasinshell's decline serves as a warning about the decline of clean water in the region.
The wildlife agency also has proposed protections for the Florida bristle fern, found only on state and county lands in Miami-Dade and Sumter counties. Two shrubs and two herbs found only in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties also have been proposed for listing as threatened or endangered — the Big Pine Partridge pea, Blodgett's silverbush, the wedge spurge and sand flax.