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Effective April 8, 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) listed the Missouri Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) due to threats from sedimentation, water quality degradation, disease, and other factors.

The eastern hellbender Missouri DPS will now require consideration as a federally listed species, which could lengthen project timelines and add costs for studies, planning, and conservation measures. Coordination with the USFWS and the Missouri Department of Conservation may be necessary 

Eastern Hellbender Missouri DPS Map For projects with a federal nexus - such as those involving federal lands or permits - ESA Section 7 consultation with the USFWS will likely be needed if the activity may affect the population. For non-federal activities, project proponents may seek an incidental take permit under the ESA Section 10 permitting process if avoidance is not possible. 

The listing also creates opportunities for conservation projects, such as stream restoration or watershed planning, that might be eligible for cost-sharing grants or other partnerships.

The endangered eastern hellbender Missouri DPS occurs within the state’s boundaries in the rivers shown in the graphic to the right.

Ground-disturbing activities that directly or indirectly cause sedimentation or water quality degradation in these rivers could be affected. This includes projects that cross and/or occur upland of one of these rivers.


Our team includes scientists with eastern hellbender expertise. We have experienced field survey biologists; watershed planners and water quality specialists; stream restoration experts; and state and federal permitting experts. With our experience and expertise, we can help you understand how this listing may affect your project and what actions to take next.

For questions or to discuss what this listing might mean to your project, please contact:

  • emunscher [at] swca [dot] com (Eric Munscher)
  • heath [dot] garner [at] swca [dot] com (Heath Garner)
  • derek [dot] richard [at] swca [dot] com (Derek Richard)