Mississippi's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (Wildlife Action Plan)

Excerpts from Mississippi's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) applicable to Private Landowners.
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Introduction

Mississippi's CWCS Ecoregions
INTRODUCTION
Mississippi's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (CWCS) is part of a national collaborative effort among natural resource agencies, conservation organizations, corporations and private landowners to address habitat needs of declining wildlife species. These strategies mark the first time in U.S. history that state wildlife agencies and the broader conservation community have cooperated to design a conservation blueprint for all wildlife species.

Since the early 1990s, the 3,000-member nationwide Teaming with Wildlife Coalition has worked to secure funding for state fish and wildlife agencies to take preventative actions, keeping rare species from becoming endangered and common species abundant. In 2001, Congress responded to this need by creating the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program and from 2001 - 2005, over $300 million has been allocated to state wildlife agencies.

In order to make the best use of the State Wildlife Grants (SWG) program, Congress charged each state and territory with developing a CWCS. Over a three year period, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks (MDWFP) has coordinated this effort on behalf of the state of Mississippi to meet congressional requirements and to provide a "conservation blueprint" for agencies, organizations, industries, private landowners and academics across the state to advance sound management of all of our fish and wildlife resources in the future. The overarching goal of this planning effort is to provide a guide to effective and efficient long-term conservation of Mississippi's biological diversity.

MISSISSIPPI'S CWCS ECOREGIONS
What is an ecoregion?
Ecoregions are commonly considered to be large areas distinguished from surrounding regions by differing biotic and environmental factors and/or ecological processes. Factors that are generally used to distinguish these large regions from one another include differences in climate, physical geography, soils, species or communities.

East Gulf Coastal Plain Ecoregion
The East Gulf Coastal Plain (EGCP) ecoregion includes portions of five states (Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana) and over 42 million acres. It stretches from southwest Georgia across the Florida panhandle and west to southeastern Louisiana. The ecoregion has a diversity of ecological systems, ranging from sandhills and rolling longleaf pine-dominated uplands to pine flatwoods and savannas, seepage bogs and bottomland hardwood forests. The meager topographic and soil diversity of the EGCP suggests an area of low biodiversity and endemism, yet the ecoregion is one of the biologically richest in North America. Many species, particularly vascular plants, reptiles, amphibians and fishes occur only in this ecoregion and many of those are even more narrowly limited within the ecoregion.

This ecoregion is physically characterized by subtle topography, a warm to hot, humid maritime climate, and soils derived primarily from unconsolidated sands, silts and clays transported to the ecoregion by the weathering of the Appalachian Mountains. Other features include a high percentage of land area in wetlands, a dominant role of frequent fire over the majority of the landscape, a diversity of river and stream systems, limited but important karst areas, and significant large scale disturbance events such as hurricanes.

This ecoregion experiences high species richness, species endemism and community diversity in terrestrial, freshwater and aquatic systems. Part of the reason for this is that the ecoregion has never been glaciated, and has been continuously occupied by plants and animals since the Cretaceous period, giving ample time for the evolution of narrow endemic species.

The dominant ecological drivers of the terrestrial systems are soils (texture and chemistry), fire frequency and hydrology. While habitats in the EGCP include barrier island systems with annualdominated beaches, maritime grasslands and scrub, maritime shrub hammocks, and evergreen forests (both broadleaf and needleleaf) these habitats have been classified as part of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecoregion (NGM) for the purpose of this CWCS. Inland, longleaf pine woodlands are dominant over most of the landscape, on upland and wetland sites and a wide variety of soils. These pinelands (sandhills, clayhills, flatwoods and savannas) support a tremendous diversity of plant and animal species: most of them unique to these systems. Embedded in these pinelands, specialized patch communities such as seepage bogs, treeless "savannas" and "prairies", and seasonally flooded depression ponds provide rich habitat for plants, amphibians, and invertebrates. Imperiled plant species are concentrated in fire-maintained pinelands (wetland and upland) and associated seepage bogs. While many imperiled animal species also occur in these communities, there are also significant concentrations in aquatic and bottomland systems.

The freshwater aquatic systems of the EGCP are among the most significant and at-risk aquatic biodiversity resources in North America, particularly for fish and mussel species. Each of these groups has unique biodiversity resources. Many aquatic animals are endemic to the ecoregion, and many are restricted to a single river system and its tributaries. Thus, conservation of aquatic biodiversity in the EGCP requires conservation of most of the river systems. In addition, the EGCP supports a range of bottomland hardwood forests and cypress-gum swamps, as well as many lakes and natural ponds.

What is the current status of EGCP biodiversity? The pineland ecosystem (consisting of fire-maintained longleaf pine and slash pine woodlands and their associated seepage bogs and depression wetlands) once dominated a string of ecoregions from southeastern Virginia to eastern Texas. This system has now been reduced to less than five percent of its former range, making it one of the most endangered landscapes in North America. Not only have these pineland ecosystems been directly reduced in extent, but remaining areas are also fragmented and many suffer from the exclusion of fire, a critical ecological process for their maintenance and health. Aquatic systems have been severely affected by hydrologic alterations, pollution and introduction of non-native species. Most of the hundreds of species endemic to the ecoregion, many of which were never common, have been further imperiled by these changes.

The following habitat types described in Chapter IV of this CWCS can be found in the EGCP ecoregion:
  • Dry- Mesic Upland Forests/Woodlands
  • Agriculture Fields, Hay and Pasture Lands, Old Fields, Prairies, Cedar Glades and Pine Plantations
  • Wet Pine Savannas/Flatwoods
  • Mesic Upland Forests
  • Bottomland Hardwood Forests
  • Riverfront Forest/Herblands/Sandbars
  • Spring Seeps
  • Bogs
  • Inland Freshwater Marshes
  • Swamp Forests
  • Lacustrine Communities
  • Streams
  • Urban and Suburban Lands
  • Rock Outcrops and Caves
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Mississippi River Alluvial Plain Ecoregion
The Mississippi River Alluvial Plain (MSRAP) is a 23,968,700 acre ecoregion that includes several uplands and most of the Atchafalaya Basin, but excludes the Red and Ouachita River Alluvial Plains and coastal areas south of the forested portions of the Atchafalaya Basin. Its most defining feature is the Mississippi River which flows south over the Mississippi Embayment, a structural trough in the earth's crust that, over the past 100 to 200 million years, has thrust alternately upward and downward relative to the sea. MSRAP is a geologically complex area, with Coastal Plain sediments having been deposited by a retreating Gulf of Mexico during the Tertiary Period of the Cenozoic Era. The melting of the glaciers during the Pleistocene forced the upper Midwest and the current Ohio River Basin to drain southward and, over time, form the modern-day Mississippi River. Retreating glaciers left behind glacial outwash that, through time, was reworked by the energy of the river and overlaid by deep alluvium deposited through annual overbank flooding. Several distinct landforms in MSRAP represent an accumulation of coarse, glacial sediments that have not been fully subjected to the erosional forces of big river systems, and thus remain tens of feet above floodplain elevations. Crowley's Ridge in Arkansas is hundreds of feet above the floodplain and is comprised of Tertiary deposits. Well-drained, highly-erodable, windblown deposits (loess) originating from glacial outwash are characteristic of these landforms. Upland pine hardwood plant communities and, in areas of clay-pan formation, prairie communities, characterize these upland areas.

The bottomland hardwood forest is by far the dominant natural plant component of MSRAP. It is maintained by regular back- and headwater flood events and localized ponding on poorly drained soils. Headwater or mainstem flooding results from rainstorms over the watersheds of the Mississippi's tributaries, and produces the great spring floods characteristic of MSRAP. Backwater flooding is a phenomenon in which high water stages on the Mississippi River create a damming effect, preventing tributary drainage into the mainstem and at times reversing tributary flow upstream. As a result, longduration flooding accompanied by sediment and nutrient deposition occurs throughout the associated tributary watersheds.

Concomitant to these flooding mechanisms are the hydrogeomorphic processes associated with meandering river systems. The high energy inherent in the Mississippi River and its tributaries once sculpted the landscape, producing a surface geomorphology comprised of natural levees, meander scar (oxbow) lakes, point bars and ridge and swale topography. Site conditions within MSRAP range from permanently flooded areas supporting only emergent or floating aquatic vegetation to high elevation sites that support climax hardwood forests. The distribution of bottomland hardwood communities within the floodplains of the Mississippi River and its tributaries is determined by timing, frequency and duration of flooding. Elevational differences of only a few inches result in great differences in soil saturation characteristics and thus the species of plants that grow there. As a result, much variability exists within a bottomland hardwood ecosystem, ranging from the bald cypress/tupelo swamp community that develops on frequently inundated sites with permanently saturated soils, to the cherrybark oak/pecan community found on the sites subjected to temporary flooding. Between these rather distinct community types are the more transitional, less distinguishable overcup oak/water hickory, elm/ash/hackberry and sweetgum/red oak communities.

In time, and in response to sediment texture, deposition rates and quantities, plant communities characteristic of MSRAP undergo ecological succession from pioneer communities dominated by black willow or cottonwood (depending on soil drainage characteristics) to red oak and finally white oak dominated climax community. But other disturbances also influence plant community distribution. Both human- and naturally-induced disturbances, such as ice storms, hurricanes, beaver activity, hydrologic alteration and silvicultural practices, greatly influence the rate and direction of succession. There is emerging thought that the dynamic nature of this water- and sediment-driven system, coupled with frequent disturbance, historically precluded, in most cases, the development or long-term viability of a closed canopy of senescent trees, or a community commonly thought of as old-growth. The presettlement forests of MSRAP were likely a shifting mosaic of even-aged small patches of all-ages, further defined by minute differences in elevation and tolerances among a large number of woody plants.

The diversity of forests and other habitat characterizing the historic landscape provided an extraordinary habitat for a range of species utilizing MSRAP. River floodplain systems are highly productive and provide exceptional habitat for a variety of vertebrates including foraging and spawning fish, amphibians and reptiles. Over 240 fish species, 45 species of reptiles and amphibians and 37 species of mussels depend on the river and floodplain system of MSRAP. In addition, 50 species of mammals and approximately 60 percent of all bird species in the contiguous United States currently utilize the Mississippi River and its tributaries and/or their associated floodplains.

The following habitat types described in Chapter IV of this CWCS can be found in the MSRAP ecoregion:
  • Agriculture Fields, Hay and Pasture Lands, Old Fields, Prairies, Cedar Glades and Pine Plantations
  • Bottomland Hardwood Forests
  • Riverfront Forests/Herblands/Sandbars
  • Inland Freshwater Marshes
  • Swamp Forests
  • Lacustrine Communities
  • Streams
  • Urban and Suburban Lands
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Northern Gulf of Mexico Ecoregion
The Northern Gulf of Mexico (NGM) ecoregion extends from Anclote Keys, Florida to the southern extent of the Laguna Madre de Temaulipas in Mexico. It is a rich and productive subtropical system that supports some of the most extensive wetland and seagrass habitats in the world. Much of the nearshore waters of the Gulf are divided into bay and estuarine systems behind barrier islands, which form a ring of sites around the NGM. For the purposes of this CWCS habitats including barrier island systems with annual-dominated beaches, maritime grasslands and scrub, maritime forests have been classified as part of the NGM ecoregion. These grade through salt marshes to productive estuaries.

In Mississippi, the NGN borders the EGCP and is completely coincident with it. TNC has divided the ecoregion into three broad subregions for planning purposes. Mississippi falls within the Central Gulf of Mexico region which runs from Galveston Bay, Texas to Mobile Bay, Alabama. This region is characterized by extremely high levels of riverine input. Freshwater and sediments from the Mississippi River and to a lesser extent freshwater entering through Mobile Bay determine the characteristics of nearshore waters in this region. Coastal waters are generally variable in salinity, and water clarity is low because of the sediment load. Bottom sediments tend to be fine clays and muds. These conditions are ideal for the growth of marshes and oyster reefs.

The drainage basin for the Gulf extends from the Appalachians to the Rockies. It contains nearly 60 percent of the land area of the continental United States, including some the most fertile lands in the world. This productive drainage makes the Gulf one of the primary producers of finfish and shellfish in the United States. However, because much of this land is in agricultural use, fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides threaten the productivity of the Gulf.

The NGM is a productive environment. In 1997, the estimated commercial value of the finfish and shellfish harvest was $823 million.

The Gulf is ranked as the top region in the country for seafood harvest in both poundage and monetary value. Much of the productivity of this region is believed to have its origins in the productivity of the nearshore marshes and seagrasses, because these habitats serve as nurseries for juveniles, and/or simply because they are the source of vast amounts of carbon and nutrients.

Estuarine, seagrass and marsh environments, which are in abundance in the NGM, are estimated to be ten times more valuable to humans than any terrestrial habitat for ecosystem services like food production, recreation and nutrient cycling.

The following habitat types described in Chapter IV of this CWCS can be found in the NGM ecoregion:
  • Streams
  • Upland Maritime and Estuarine Fringe Habitats
  • Estuary and Mississippi Sound (Inside or Associated with the Barrier Islands)
  • Marine Habitats
  • Urban and Suburban Lands
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Upper East Gulf Plain Ecoregion
The Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain (UEGCP) ecoregion encompasses 33,861,051 acres. This large ecoregion ranges from southern Illinois, western Kentucky and Tennessee, throughout much of Mississippi, east to Alabama and a limited area of Georgia and southeastern Louisiana. The region is bounded on the west by the MSRAP and on the north by the Ohio River, and Tennessee River. The eastern margin occurs at the contact point with older rocks of the Piedmont and Southern Ridge and Valley. This region has rugged terrain and hilly topography In addition, the southern boundary approximates the range limits of major potential natural vegetation types oak-hickory-pine to the north, and southern mixed hardwood forests to the south.

Coastal and fluvial processes have considerably reworked the land surface of the region. Approximately 70 million years ago, the area would have been around 4,000 foot elevation. However, the earth's crust sagged forming the Mississippi Embayment. During the Tertiary and Cretaceous periods the Embayment trough was repeatedly invaded by shallow seas leaving behind hundreds of meters of sediments that occupy broad bands approximately paralleling the Gulf of Mexico. The result is a region of belted character, in the form of inner lowlands and cuestas and other low-ridge landforms.

The upper Mississippi Embayment is underlain by an ancient, buried rift zone. This buried rift has acted as a "zone of weakness" in the continental crust and serves to localize earthquake activity in the central United States. There have been many large magnitude earthquakes and abundant seismic activity in the region. The New Madrid earthquake (1811-1812) was among the strongest earthquakes in recorded United States history, resulting in up to nine feet of land subsidence in the upper part of the region. Further south, the geologic structure of the region has been affected by the presence of underground salt in the form of salt plugs, domes, and basins. The Mississippi Interior Salt Basin, which extends into this region, has extensive hydrocarbon reserves that are still largely undeveloped.

Throughout the region, soils are generally acidic with appreciable amounts of clay present. Ultisols, deeply leached and low in nutrients, are the dominant soil order. Alfisols, less weathered and greater in fertility, are present in more limited areas, especially associated with loess deposits (a unique type of windblown silt). Large quantities of loess were probably carried by wind from exposed sediments of the Mississippi River floodplain and deposited on adjacent uplands during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene. Loess eventually covered much of the underlying topography under a thick blanket deepest along the western edge and thinning abruptly eastward. Vertisols (soils with shrink-swell properties due, in part, to especially high clay content) are uncommon in the southeastern coastal plain but are present in limited areas of the Black Belt where they were derived from marl and chalk residues.

The UEGCP overlaps several distinctive aquatic ecoregions. The majority of this region has been considered a priority for freshwater species conservation due to the richness of the fauna present. For example, rivers in this region provide habitat for over 206 native fish species.

The region also supports relatively large numbers of crayfish and mussel species despite heavily disturbed conditions in many areas that have likely reduced faunal diversity. The bulk of the regions' rivers, especially the Mississippi tributaries, have been channelized and/or subjected to headcutting and heavy sedimentation.

The region includes a diverse assemblage of streams that vary in size, origin, and geology. Particularly noteworthy rivers of this region include the Hatchie, the longest free flowing tributary in the lower Mississippi River valley and tributaries of the Pascagoula, America's longest unencumbered river. The potential natural vegetation of the UEGCP may be characterized as broad bands of different composition that roughly parallel the coast. From south to north these include southern mixed forests, oak-hickory-pine forests, and oak-hickory forests, interrupted by occasional southern floodplain forests and black belt prairies.

Southern mixed forests and oak-hickory-pine forests, the two predominant types in terms of area occupied, are recognized by the presence of longleaf pine and shortleaf pine. Although longleaf forests and woodlands were the dominant vegetation type of the southeastern United States coastal plain, they occur in only limited areas of this region, extending landward into the UEGCP by only about 50 miles. Northward, longleaf pine is replaced by shortleaf pine.

Bluffs along the eastern edge of the Mississippi River, such as those around Vicksburg, are covered with up to 200 feet of loess. A number of factors account for the development and maintenance of precipitous cliffs and ravines where loess is deepest. The vegetation of these loess bluffs is often richer than surrounding areas due to the fertile topsoil and abundant moisture. In many cases, the bluffs provide habitat for plant species that are rare or absent from other parts of the Coastal Plain. In addition, the bluffs constituted a major refugium for mesophytic plant species, now generally more common to the north, during the last glaciation.

Blackland Prairies occur in two discrete areas of the ecoregion: the Jackson Prairie and the Black Belt (see Northeast Prairie subtype in this CWCS). These areas are among the distinct topographic regions in the state of Mississippi. At their closest point, 65 miles separate the formations supporting the two prairie types. The Black Belt is the larger of the two regions, stretching approximately 300 miles across Mississippi and into adjacent parts of central Alabama. This region, generally 25-30 miles wide, derives its name from the nearly black, rich topsoil that developed over Selma Chalk. Both areas have typically calcareous soils and were formerly occupied by natural grasslands and associated vegetation.

The broad forest cover composition also differs between parts of the region. While the percentage of total area occupied by deciduous forests is relatively evenly distributed across the region, mixed and evergreen forests (each generally including a component of pine species) are much less common overall in both the Black Belt and the North Unit (North of the Mississippi-Tennessee state line). The reasons for this pattern are most obvious in the case of the North Unit, most of which lies outside the natural range of the southern pine species (loblolly, shortleaf, longleaf) commonly encountered this ecoregion. The lack of evergreen forests in the Black Belt is more complex, but is likely due to the poor suitability of the predominantly calcareous soils for pine growth.

The composition of the ecoregion's forests is also changing. Vast acreages of the region are being converted to pine plantations, in many cases at the expense of either existing deciduous or mixed forests, constituting one of the most consequential forestry developments in the region in the last four decades.

The following habitat types described in Chapter IV of this CWCS can be found in the UEGCP ecoregion:
  • Dry-Mesic Upland Forests/Woodlands
  • Agriculture Fields, Hay and Pasture Lands, Old Fields, Prairies, Cedar Glades and Pine Plantations
  • Mesic Upland Forests
  • Bottomland Hardwood Forests
  • Riverfront Forests/Herblands/Sandbars
  • Inland Freshwater Marshes
  • Swamp Forests
  • Lacustrine Communities
  • Streams
  • Urban and Suburban Lands
  • Rock Outcrops and Caves


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MISSISSIPPI'S SPECIES OF GREATEST CONSERVATION NEED (SGCN)
The 297 species identified for this iteration of Mississippi’s SGCN includes 18 amphibians, 70 birds, 34 crustaceans, 74 fish, 17 mammals, 49 mussels and 35 reptiles. These are organized by taxonomic group and Tier level. The Federal and State protection status and NHP state rank is also listed for each applicable species.

Please note that gastropods, insects, marine fish and invertebrates were not evaluated for inclusion in the development of this SGCN because of the lack of data available to sufficiently evaluate their status. This is not an indication of lack of conservation concern for species within these groups, but rather an acknowledgement that thorough basic survey work must be accomplished first.

Criteria for Selecting and Prioritizing Mississippi's Species of Greatest Conservation Need
Each species is assigned a rank representing its status in the state (SRANK). A guide to ranking criteria and symbols follows:
  • S1: Critically imperiled in Mississippi because of extreme rarity or because of some factor(s) making it vulnerable to extirpation.
  • S2: Imperiled in Mississippi because of rarity or because of some factor(s) making it vulnerable to extirpation.
  • S3: Rare or uncommon in Mississippi.
  • S4: Widespread, abundant, and apparently secure in the state, but with cause for long-term concern.
  • S5: Demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure in the state.
  • SH: Of historical occurrence in Mississippi, perhaps not verified in the past 20 years and suspected to be extant. An element would also be ranked SH if the only known occurrence(s) were destroyed, or if it had been sought extensively and unsuccessfully looked for. Upon verification of an extant occurrence, SH-ranked elements would typically receive an S1 rank.
  • SU: Possibly in peril in Mississippi but status uncertain; need more information. May also be represented by S?.
  • S?: Unranked: Element is not yet ranked in the state.
  • SX: Element is believed to be extirpated from the state.
  • SE: Exotic: An exotic established in the state; may be native in nearby regions (e.g. pecans along the eastern seaboard of the U.S.)
  • SA: Accidental: accidental or casual in the state (i.e. in frequent and far outside usual range).
  • SZ: Not of practical conservation concern in the state, because there are no established populations, although the taxon is native.
  • SP: Potential: Element potentially occurs in the state but no occurrences reported.
  • SR: Reported: Element reported in the state but without persuasive demonstration which would provide a basis for either accepting or rejecting (e.g. misidentified specimen) the report.
  • SRF: Reported falsely: Element erroneously reported in the state and the error has persisted in the literature.
  • HYB: Hybrid: Element represents hybrid of species.
  • SSYN: Synonym
  • Breeding Status: (Applicable to migratory species, mainly birds, but also includes sea turtles, some fish and some insects).
    • B = Breeding Status
    • N = Non-breeding Status
  • Qualifiers:
    • ? = Inexact
    • C = Captive or Cultivated only
STATE STATUS: Seventy-six animals have been designated as state endangered through the Mississippi State Law, the Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1974. Plants receive no formal legal protection by state law in Mississippi other than that provided for in the trespass laws.

FEDERAL STATUS: The following is a guide to acronyms taken from the Federal Register:
  • LE - Endangered. A species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
  • LT - Threatened. A species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
  • C - Candidate Species. Species for which the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) currently has substantial information supporting the biological appropriateness of proposing to list as endangered or threatened. Proposed rules have not yet been issued because they have been precluded at present by other listing activity. Development and publication of proposed rules is anticipated, however, and the USFWS encourages federal agencies and other appropriate parties to give considerations to such taxa in environmental planning.
  • C2 - Candidate Category 2. The USFWS identified Category 2 candidates as taxa for which information in the possession of the Service indicated that proposing to list as endangered or threatened was possibly appropriate, but for which sufficient data on biological vulnerability and threat were not currently available to support proposed rules. The quality of information varied greatly among the former Category 2 species, but they all shared one trait — sufficient information to justify issuance of a proposed rule was lacking. The designation of Category 2 species as candidates resulted in confusion about the conservation status of these taxa. To reduce that confusion, and to clarify that the USFWS does not regard these species as candidates for listing, the Service has discontinued the designation of Category 2 species as candidates. The USFWS remains concerned about these species, but further biological research and field study are needed to resolve the conservation status of these taxa. The Service encourages other Federal agencies to give consideration to these taxa in environmental planning.
  • 3A - Subcategory 3A. Species for which the USFWS has persuasive evidence of extinction. If rediscovered, however, such taxa warrant high priority for addition to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
  • 3C - Subcategory 3C. Species that are now considered to be more abundant and/or widespread than previously thought. Should new information suggest that such taxon is experiencing a numerical or distributional decline, or is under a substantial threat, it may be considered for transfer to Category 1 or 2.
DESCRIPTION OF TIERS FOR SGCN
  • Tier 1 - Species that are in need of immediate conservation action and/or research because of extreme rarity, restricted distribution, unknown or decreasing population trends, specialized habitat needs and/or habitat vulnerability. Some species may be considered critically imperiled and at risk of extinction/extirpation.
  • Tier 2 - Species that are in need of timely conservation action and/or research because of rarity, restricted distribution, unknown or decreasing population trend, specialized habitat needs or habitat vulnerability or significant threats.
  • Tier 3 - Species that are of less immediate conservation concern, but are in need of planning and effective management due to unknown or decreasing population trends, specialized habitat needs or habitat vulnerability.
  • Tier 4 - Species listed as extirpated from Mississippi, of historical occurrence only, or accidental. While no conservation action or research is recommended at this time, these species remain a SGCN in the event that taxa may be rediscovered or reintroduced from populations existing outside the state.
DESCRIPTION OF EXISTENCE OF SPECIES BY ECOREGION HABITAT (EcoRgn Habitat)
  • A - East Gulf Coastal Plain
  • B - Mississippi River Alluvial Plain
  • C - Northern Gulf of Mexico
  • D - Upper East Gulf Coastal Plain
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Group  NameScientific NameCommon NameTier EcoRgnHabitatFedStatusStateStatusStateRank
Amphibians Amphiuma pholeterOne-Toed Amphiuma1ALES1
AmphibiansCryptobranchus alleganiensisHellbender1D(PS)S1
AmphibiansRana heckscheriRiver Frog1AS1
AmphibiansRana sevosaMississippi Gopher Frog1ALELES1
AmphibiansAneides aeneusGreen Salamander2DLES1
AmphibiansEurycea lucifugaCave Salamander2DLES1
AmphibiansGyrinophilus porphyriticusSpring Salamander2DLES1
AmphibiansHemidactylium scutatumFour-Toed Salamander2ADS1S2
AmphibiansPlethodon ventralisSouthern Zigzag Salamander2DS2
AmphibiansPlethodon websteriWebster's Salamander2DS3
AmphibiansPseudacris ornataOrnate Chorus Frog2AS1S2
AmphibiansPseudotriton montanusMud Salamander2AS2S3
AmphibiansRana areolataCrawfish Frog2DS3
AmphibiansBufo nebuliferGulf Coast Toad3ABCDS3
AmphibiansPseudacris brachyphonaMountain Chorus Frog3DS3
AmphibiansPseudotriton ruberRed Salamander3ADS3
AmphibiansAmbystoma tigrinumTiger Salamander4D(PS)SH
AmphibiansPlethodon ainsworthiBaysprings Salamander4ASX
Group  NameScientific NameCommon NameTier EcoRgnHabitatFedStatusStateStatusStateRank
BirdsCharadrius alexandrinus tenuirostrisSoutheastern Snowy Plover1ACLES2
BirdsCharadrius wilsoniaWilson's Plover1ACS1
BirdsCoturnicops noveboracensisYellow Rail1ACDS2N
BirdsFalco sparverius paulusSoutheastern American Kestrel1AS3B, SZN
BirdsGrus canadensis pullaMississippi Sandhill Crane1ALELES1
BirdsHaematopus palliatusAmerican Oystercatcher1ACS1
BirdsLaterallus jamaicensisBlack Rail1ACDS2N
BirdsThryomanes bewickiiBewick's Wren1ABDLES2B, S3N
BirdsAimophila aestivalisBachman's Sparrow2ADS3B, S3S4N
BirdsAmmodramus henslowiiHenslow's Sparrow2AS3N
BirdsAmmodramus leconteiiLe Conte's Sparrow2ABDS3N
BirdsAmmodramus maritimusSeaside Sparrow2AC(PS)S3
BirdsAmmodramus nelsoniNelson's Sharp-Tailed Sparrow2ACS3N
BirdsAmmodramus savannarumGrasshopper Sparrow2ABD(PS)S3B, S3N
BirdsAnas fulvigulaMottled Duck2ACS2B, S4N
BirdsAsio flammeusShort-Eared Owl2ABCDS3N
BirdsCalidris canutusRed Knot2ACS2N
BirdsCharadrius melodusPiping Plover2ABCDLE,LTLES2N
BirdsColumbina passerinaCommon Ground-Dove2ABDS1S2
BirdsDendroica ceruleaCerulean Warbler2ACDS2B, SZN
BirdsEgretta caeruleaLittle Blue Heron2ABCDS2B, SZN
BirdsEgretta rufescensReddish Egret2ACS2N
BirdsElanoides forficatusSwallow-Tailed Kite2ABDS2B
BirdsEudocimus albusWhite Ibis2ABCDS2B, S3N
BirdsEuphagus carolinusRusty Blackbird2ABDS2
BirdsHaliaeetus leucocephalusBald Eagle2ABCDPS:LTLES2B, S2N
BirdsLimnothlypis swainsoniiSwainson's Warbler2ABCDS3S4N, SZB
BirdsLimosa fedoaMarbled Godwit2ACS2N
BirdsMycteria americanaWood Stork2ABDPS:LELES2N
BirdsPasserina cirisPainted Bunting2ABCDS3S4B, SZN
BirdsPelecanus occidentalisBrown Pelican2ACPS:LELES1N
BirdsPicoides borealisRed-Cockaded Woodpecker2ADLELES1
BirdsRallus elegansKing Rail2ABCDS3
BirdsRynchops nigerBlack Skimmer2ACDS2B, S3N
BirdsSterna antillarumLeast Tern2ACDPS:LES3B, S3N
BirdsSterna antillarum athalassosInterior Least Tern2BPS:LELES2B
BirdsSterna maximaRoyal Tern2ACS1B, S4N
BirdsSterna niloticaGull-Billed Tern2ACDS1B, S3S4N
BirdsSterna sandvicensisSandwich Tern2ACS1B, S4N
BirdsAnas acutaNorthern Pintail3ABCDS4N
BirdsAnas rubripesAmerican Black Duck3ABCDS2N
BirdsAnhinga anhingaAnhinga3ABDS3B, S1N
BirdsAythya affinisLesser Scaup3ABCDS4N
BirdsBotaurus lentiginosusAmerican Bittern3ABCDS3N
BirdsCalidris alpinaDunlin3ABCDS4N
BirdsCalidris mauriWestern Sandpiper3ABCDS4N
BirdsCaprimulgus carolinensisChuck-Will's-Widow3ABCDS4B
BirdsColinus virginianusNorthern Bobwhite3ABD(PS)S3S4
BirdsDendroica discolorPrairie Warbler3ABCDS5B, SZN
BirdsEgretta thulaSnowy Egret3ABCDS4B, S1N
BirdsEgretta tricolorTricolored Heron3ABCDS2B, S1N
BirdsHelmitheros vermivorusWorm-Eating Warbler3ABCDS3B, SZN
BirdsHylocichla mustelinaWood Thrush3ABCDS5B, SZN
BirdsIxobrychus exilisLeast Bittern3ABCDS3B
BirdsLanius ludovicianusLoggerhead Shrike3ABDS4
BirdsMelanerpes erythrocephalusRed-Headed Woodpecker3ABDS4S5
BirdsNycticorax nycticoraxBlack-Crowned Night-Heron3ABCDS3B, S4N
BirdsNycticorax violaceusYellow-Crowned Night-Heron3ABCDS3B, S1N
BirdsOporornis formosusKentucky Warbler3ABCDS5B, SZN
BirdsPandion haliaetusOsprey3ABCDS3B,
BirdsPelecanus erythrorhynchosAmerican White Pelican3ABCDS3N
BirdsPiranga olivaceaScarlet Tanager3ABCDS2?B, SZN
BirdsPorphyrula martinicaPurple Gallinule3ABCDS3B
BirdsProtonotaria citreaProthonotary Warbler3ABCDS5B, SZN
BirdsScolopax minorAmerican Woodcock3ABCDS?
BirdsSeiurus motacillaLouisiana Waterthrush3ABCDS3B, SZN
BirdsSitta pusillaBrown-Headed Nuthatch3ABDS4B
BirdsTyto albaCommon Barn-Owl3ABDS3
BirdsCampephilus principalisIvory-Billed Woodpecker4ABDLELESX
BirdsVermivora bachmaniiBachman's Warbler4ACLELESXB
Group  NameScientific NameCommon NameTier EcoRgnHabitatFedStatusStateStatusStateRank
CrustaceansFallicambarus burrisiBurris' Burrowing Crawfish1AS2
CrustaceansFallicambarus danielaeSpeckled Burrowing Crayfish1AS2
CrustaceansFallicambarus gordoniCamp Shelby Burrowing Crawfish1ACLES1
CrustaceansHobbseus attenuatusPearl Rivulet Crayfish1DS2
CrustaceansHobbseus cristatusA Crayfish1DS2?
CrustaceansHobbseus orconectoidesOktibbeha Rivulet Crayfish1DS1
CrustaceansHobbseus petilusTombigbee Rivulet Crayfish1DS2
CrustaceansHobbseus valleculusChoctaw Rivulet Crayfish1DS1
CrustaceansHobbseus yalobushensisA Crayfish1DS2
CrustaceansOrconectes hartfieldiA Crayfish1AS2
CrustaceansOrconectes mississippiensisA Crayfish1DS2S3
CrustaceansProcambarus barbigerJackson Prairie Crayfish1ADS2
CrustaceansProcambarus cometesMississippi Flatwoods Crayfish1DS1
CrustaceansProcambarus connusCarrollton Crayfish1DS1
CrustaceansProcambarus fitzpatrickiSpiny-Tailed Crayfish1AS2
CrustaceansProcambarus lagniappeLagniappe Crayfish1DS1
CrustaceansProcambarus lyleiShutispear Crayfish1DS2
CrustaceansProcambarus pogumBearded Red Crayfish1DS1
CrustaceansCambarellus diminutusLeast Crayfish2AS2
CrustaceansCambarellus leslieiA Crayfish2AS2
CrustaceansCambarus latimanusA Crayfish2DS1?
CrustaceansFallicambarus byersiLavender Burrowing Crayfish2AS3
CrustaceansHobbseus prominensA Crayfish2DS2?
CrustaceansOrconectes etnieriA Crayfish2DS3?
CrustaceansOrconectes jonesiA Crayfish2AS3
CrustaceansProcambarus ablususA Crayfish2DS3
CrustaceansProcambarus bivittatusRibbon Crayfish2AS3
CrustaceansProcambarus elegansA Crayfish2DS3?
CrustaceansProcambarus hagenianus vesticepsA Crayfish2DS3S4
CrustaceansProcambarus leconteiMobile Crayfish2AS2
CrustaceansProcambarus penniPearl Blackwater Crayfish2AS3
CrustaceansCambarus girardianusA Crayfish3DS2
CrustaceansOrconectes validusA Crayfish3DS1
CrustaceansProcambarus shermaniA Crayfish3AS?
Group  NameScientific NameCommon NameTier EcoRgnHabitatFedStatusStateStatusStateRank
FishAcipenser oxyrinchus desotoiGulf Sturgeon1ACDLTLES1
FishAlosa alabamaeAlabama Shad1ACDCS1
FishCrystallaria asprellaCrystal Darter1ADLES1
FishEtheostoma raneyiYazoo Darter1DS2
FishEtheostoma rubrumBayou Darter1ALTLES1
FishEtheostoma zoniferBackwater Darter1DS1
FishNotropis chalybaeusIroncolor Shiner1ABLES1
FishNotropis melanostomusBlackmouth Shiner1ADS1S2
FishNoturus gladiatorPiebald Madtom1DLES1
FishNoturus munitusFrecklebelly Madtom1ADLES2
FishPercina auroraPearl Darter1ADCLES1
FishPercina lenticulaFreckled Darter1ADS2
FishScaphirhynchus albusPallid Sturgeon1BLELES1
FishScaphirhynchus suttkusiAlabama Sturgeon1DLELES1
FishAmmocrypta meridianaSouthern Sand Darter2DS3
FishCottus carolinaeBanded Sculpin2DS1
FishCycleptus elongatusBlue Sucker2ABDS3
FishCycleptus meridionalisSoutheastern Blue Sucker2ADS3
FishCyprinella callistiaAlabama Shiner2DS2
FishCyprinella galacturaWhitetail Shiner2DS1
FishCyprinella whippleiSteelcolor Shiner2AS3
FishEtheostoma blennioidesGreenside Darter2DLES1
FishEtheostoma duryiBlack Darter2DS1
FishEtheostoma kennicottiStripetail Darter2DS2
FishEtheostoma lachneriTombigbee Darter2DS3
FishEtheostoma nigripinneBlackfin Darter2DS2
FishEtheostoma zonistiumBandfin Darter2DS2
FishFundulus disparNorthern Starhead Topminnow2ABCDS3
FishFundulus euryzonusBroadstripe Topminnow2AS2
FishFundulus jenkinsiSaltmarsh Topminnow2ACCS3
FishIchthyomyzon castaneusChestnut Lamprey2ABDS2S3
FishMorone saxatilisStriped Bass2ABCDS1
FishMoxostoma anisurumSilver Redhorse2DS1
FishMoxostoma carinatumRiver Redhorse2ADS3
FishMoxostoma duquesneiBlack Redhorse2DS1
FishMoxostoma macrolepidotumShorthead Redhorse2DS1
FishNotropis amnisPallid Shiner2DS3
FishNotropis boopsBigeye Shiner2DLES1
FishNotropis candidusSilverside Shiner2DS2
FishNotropis edwardraneyiFluvial Shiner2DS1
FishNotropis micropteryxRosyface Shiner2DS1
FishNoturus flavusStonecat2BS1
FishPercina evidesGilt Darter2DS1
FishPercina phoxocephalaSlenderhead Darter2DLES1
FishPhenacobius mirabilisSuckermouth Minnow2DLES1
FishPhoxinus erythrogasterSouthern Redbelly Dace2BDLES2
FishPteronotropis welakaBluenose Shiner2AS3
FishRhinichthys atratulusBlacknose Dace2DS1
FishStizostedion sp 1Southern Walleye2ABDS1S2
FishAtractosteus spatulaAlligator Gar3ABCDS2
FishClinostomus funduloidesRosyside Dace3DS2
FishCyprinella spilopteraSpotfin Shiner3DS2
FishEnneacanthus gloriosusBluespotted Sunfish3ACDS3
FishEtheostoma asprigeneMud Darter3ABDS3
FishEtheostoma flabellareFantail Darter3DS2
FishEtheostoma rufilineatumRedline Darter3DS2
FishEtheostoma rupestreRock Darter3DS3
FishHeterandria formosaLeast Killifish3ACS3
FishHypentelium etowanumAlabama Hog Sucker3DS3
FishIctiobus nigerBlack Buffalo3ABDS3
FishLythrurus fasciolarisRosefin Shiner3DS2S3
FishMoxostoma erythrurumGolden Redhorse3ADS3
FishNotropis sabinaeSabine Shiner3DS3
FishPercina kathaeMobile Logperch3DS3
FishPolyodon spathulaPaddlefish3ABDS3
FishStizostedion canadenseSauger3ABDS3
FishStizostedion vitreumWalleye3ADS2?
FishAmbloplites rupestrisRock Bass4DSH
FishAmmocrypta claraWestern Sand Darter4DSH
FishLeptolucania ommataPygmy Killifish4ACSH
FishMacrhybopsis gelidaSturgeon Chub4BSH
FishMacrhybopsis meekiSicklefin Chub4BSH
FishNoturus exilisSlender Madtom4DLESH
FishPlatygobio gracilisFlathead Chub4BSH
Group  NameScientific NameCommon NameTier EcoRgnHabitatFedStatusStateStatusStateRank
MammalsMyotis austroripariusSoutheastern Myotis1ABDS1S2
MammalsUrsus americanus luteolusLouisiana Black Bear1ABDLTLES1
MammalsCorynorhinus rafinesquiiRafinesque's Big-Eared Bat2ABDS3
MammalsLasiurus cinereusHoary Bat2BD(PS)S3
MammalsLasiurus intermediusNorthern Yellow Bat2AS2?
MammalsMyotis grisescensGray Myotis2ADLELES1
MammalsMyotis lucifugusLittle Brown Myotis2AS3
MammalsMyotis septentrionalisNorthern Myotis2DS2?
MammalsPeromyscus polionotusOldfield Mouse2ABD(PS)S2S3
MammalsSpilogale putoriusEastern Spotted Skunk2DS2?
MammalsTrichechus manatusManatee2ACLELESZ
MammalsUrsus americanusBlack Bear2D(PS)LES1
MammalsZapus hudsoniusMeadow Jumping Mouse2D(PS)S1
MammalsMustela frenataLong-Tailed Weasel3ADS?
MammalsLasionycteris noctivagansSilver-Haired Bat4DSA?
MammalsMyotis sodalisIndiana Or Social Myotis4DLELESAN
MammalsPuma concolor coryiFlorida Panther4ABDLELESX
Group  NameScientific NameCommon NameTier EcoRgnHabitatFedStatusStateStatusStateRank
MusselsActinonaias ligamentinaMucket1BLES1
MusselsCyclonaias tuberculataPurple Wartyback1DLES1
MusselsElliptio arcaAlabama Spike1ADS1S2
MusselsElliptio arctataDelicate Spike1ADLES1
MusselsElliptio dilatataSpike1BDLES1
MusselsEpioblasma brevidensCumberlandian Combshell1DLE,XNLES1
MusselsEpioblasma penitaSouthern Combshell1DLELES1
MusselsEpioblasma triquetraSnuffbox1DLES1
MusselsFusconaia barnesianaTennessee Pigtoe1DS1
MusselsLampsilis hydianaLouisiana Fatmucket1AS2?
MusselsLampsilis perovalisOrange-Nacre Mucket1DLTLES1
MusselsLasmigona complanata alabamensisAlabama Heelsplitter1DS2
MusselsLexingtonia dolabelloidesSlabside Pearlymussel1DCLES1
MusselsLigumia rectaBlack Sandshell1ADS1
MusselsMedionidus acutissimusAlabama Moccasinshell1DLTLES1
MusselsObovaria jacksonianaSouthern Hickorynut1ADS1
MusselsObovaria unicolorAlabama Hickorynut1ADS1S2
MusselsPlethobasus cyphyusSheepnose1BLES1
MusselsPleurobema decisumSouthern Clubshell1DLELES1
MusselsPleurobema perovatumOvate Clubshell1DLELES1
MusselsPleurobema rubrumPyramid Pigtoe1BDLES1
MusselsPotamilus capaxFat Pocketbook1BLELES1
MusselsQuadrula cylindrica cylindricaRabbitsfoot1BDLES1
MusselsStrophitus connasaugaensisAlabama Creekmussel1DS1
MusselsAnodontoides radiatusRayed Creekshell2AS2
MusselsArcidens confragosusRock Pocketbook2BDS2S3
MusselsEllipsaria lineolataButterfly2BDS2S3
MusselsLampsilis cardiumPlain Pocketbook2ADS3
MusselsLampsilis straminea stramineaRough Fatmucket2DS2
MusselsPleurobema beadleianumMississippi Pigtoe2ADS3?
MusselsQuadrula nodulataWartyback2BDS3
MusselsQuadrula rumphianaRidged Mapleleaf2DS2
MusselsStrophitus subvexusSouthern Creekmussel2DS2
MusselsStrophitus undulatusSquawfoot2ADS1
MusselsUniomerus carolinianaFlorida Pondhorn2AS2
MusselsUniomerus declivisTapered Pondhorn2ABDS2S3
MusselsLampsilis siliquoideaFatmucket3BS3
MusselsLasmigona complanata complanataWhite Heelsplitter3ADS3
MusselsPotamilus alatusPink Heelsplitter3DS2
MusselsPtychobranchus fasciolarisKidneyshell3DLES1
MusselsTruncilla truncataDeertoe3BDS3
MusselsCyprogenia abertiWestern Fanshell4BSH
MusselsMedionidus mcglameriaeTombigbee Moccasinshell4DSX
MusselsPleurobema curtumBlack Clubshell4DLELESX
MusselsPleurobema marshalliFlat Pigtoe4DLELESX
MusselsPleurobema taitianumHeavy Pigtoe4DLELESX
MusselsPotamilus inflatusInflated Heelsplitter4DLTLESH
MusselsQuadrula metanevraMonkeyface4DLESH
MusselsQuadrula stapesStirrupshell4DLELESX
Group  NameScientific NameCommon NameTier EcoRgnHabitatFedStatusStateStatusStateRank
ReptilesLepidochelys kempiiKemp's or Atlantic Ridley1ACLELES1N
ReptilesOphisaurus mimicusMimic Glass Lizard1AS1?
ReptilesPituophis melanoleucus lodingiBlack Pine Snake1ACLES2
ReptilesPseudemys alabamensisAlabama Redbelly Turtle1ACLELES1
ReptilesRhadinaea flavilataPine Woods Snake1ACS2S3
ReptilesCaretta carettaLoggerhead; Cabezon2ACLTLES1B, SZN
ReptilesCrotalus adamanteusEastern Diamondback Rattlesnake2AS3S4
ReptilesEumeces anthracinus pluvialisSouthern Coal Skink2ADS2S3
ReptilesFarancia erytrogrammaRainbow Snake2ADLES2
ReptilesGopherus polyphemusGopher Tortoise2ADPS:LTLES2
ReptilesGraptemys flavimaculataYellow-Blotched Map Turtle2ALTLES2
ReptilesGraptemys gibbonsiPascagoula Map Turtle2ADS3
ReptilesGraptemys nigrinodaBlack-Knobbed Map Turtle2DLES2
ReptilesGraptemys oculiferaRinged Map Turtle2ADLTLES2
ReptilesGraptemys pulchraAlabama Map Turtle2DS2S3
ReptilesLampropeltis calligaster calligasterPrairie Kingsnake2BS3S4
ReptilesLampropeltis calligaster rhombomaculataMole Kingsnake2ADS2
ReptilesLampropeltis triangulum syspilaRed Milk Snake2BDS3
ReptilesMacrochelys temminckiiAlligator Snapping Turtle2ABCDS3
ReptilesMalaclemys terrapin pileataMississippi Diamondback Terrapin2ACS2
ReptilesMicrurus fulviusEastern Coral Snake2AS3S4
ReptilesNerodia clarkii clarkiiGulf Salt Marsh Snake2ACS2
ReptilesOphisaurus attenuatusSlender Glass Lizard2ADS2S3
ReptilesRegina rigida deltaeDelta Crayfish Snake2AS2
ReptilesRegina septemvittataQueen Snake2ADS2S3
ReptilesChelonia mydasGreen Turtle3ACLE,LTLESZN
ReptilesDeirochelys reticularia miariaWestern Chicken Turtle3BSU
ReptilesDermochelys coriaceaLeatherback; Tinglar3ACLELESZN
ReptilesLampropeltis getula nigraBlack Kingsnake3DS3
ReptilesMasticophis flagellumEastern Coachwhip3ACS3S4
ReptilesPituophis melanoleucus melanoleucusNorthern Pine Snake3DSR
ReptilesRegina rigida sinicolaGulf Crayfish Snake3AS3
ReptilesDrymarchon couperiEastern Indigo Snake4ALTLESH
ReptilesEretmochelys imbricataHawksbill; Carey4ACLELESZN
ReptilesHeterodon simusSouthern Hognose Snake4ACLESX


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