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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
Endangered Fanshell Mussels Re-Introduced into West Virginia and Ohio
Region 5, September 29, 2010
Photo by Janet Clayton, WVDNR.  A resident snail welcomes the fanshells to their new home.  Follow this link to the news story:  http://wvgazette.com/News/201009281004
Photo by Janet Clayton, WVDNR. A resident snail welcomes the fanshells to their new home. Follow this link to the news story: http://wvgazette.com/News/201009281004 - Photo Credit: n/a

Working cooperatively across three states and three U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regions, biologists from KY, WV and OH took an important step towards recovery of the endangered fanshell mussel (Cyprogenia stegaria). The ultimate objective is to remove the fanshell from the endangered species list by restoring viable populations in at least nine river systems. Remnant populations of fanshells still existed in the Kanawha, Ohio, and Muskingum Rivers in WV and OH, and they received a much needed boost last week from the Licking River, KY population, a stronghold for the species. Biologists from the FWS ES office in Frankfort, KY and the Kentucky Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Resources collected 600 fanshells from the Licking River and transported them to the WV-KY border, where they were met by WV Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) biologists for transport to their new homes in the upper Kanawha River in WV, the Ohio River within the Ohio River Islands NWR, and the lower Muskingum River in OH. Each site received 200 fanshells. This project has been 6 years in planning by the Ohio River Valley Ecosystem Mussel Group, making sure all the pre-requisites were in place, including genetics work on the remaining populations, habitat assessment, fish host work, and monitoring data on the existing mussel communities at the receiving sites. The mussels were tagged and placed in their new homes in WV waters by scientific divers from the WVDNR, the Ohio River Islands NWR, the FWS ES office in Elkins, WV, and the National Conservation Training Center. The mussels bound for the Muskingum River in Ohio were tagged and stocked by partners from the FWS ES office in Columbus, OH, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Ohio State University, and Enviroscience, Inc. The re-introduction sites will be monitored by the teams, and the translocation of fanshells will soon be expanded to include historic streams within PA, IN and IL.

Contact Info: Patricia Morrison, 304-375-2923 x 124, patricia_morrison@fws.gov