Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Midwest Mussel Meeting Develops
Midwest Region, March 3, 2011
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2011 Interior Highland Mollusk Conservation meeting attendees.
2011 Interior Highland Mollusk Conservation meeting attendees. - Photo Credit: David Hendrix

During the first months of 2011, the Columbia Missouri and Arkansas field offices worked with the Missouri Department of Conservation to develop the first annual Interior Highlands Mollusk Conservation Meeting. It was held at the new, beautiful, USFWS Neosho National Fish Hatchery Visitor Center in Neosho, MO for those interested in promoting mollusk conservation within this unique region. Over 60 people attended from Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Iowa representing environmental organizations, private consultants, universities, Non-Government Organizations, Indian tribes, and local, state and federal government.

Hatchery manager, David Hendrix and his energetic staff were instrumental in the success of this meeting. All attendees expressed their content with the friendly setting, serene environment, beautiful hatchery grounds, and offerings of the hatchery supporters – the Friends of the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, who provided juice, snacks and delectable home-made ice-cream and cinnamon rolls – all at no charge to the participants.

In addition to the excellent accommodations offered by the Neosho National Fish Hatchery, this location was chosen because it was geographically centered amongst the interested parties. Knowing the budget restraints of many participants, a top priority was to provide a low to no-cost meeting. We strove hard to attract a regional crowd that normally cannot attend a national organizational meeting such as Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society (FMCS) or Society for Freshwater Science (SFS).

The Interior Highlands are also unique in that they span four states and USFWS Regions. This mollusk meeting was a large attempt to get attendees more engaged, promote conservation and habitat protection strategies at this regional level. Eighteen moderated presentations surrounding various agenda items such as state and USFWS status assessments, propagation strategies, toxicology studies, anthropogenic effects, restoration opportunities, genetic studies and habitat protection were delivered.

Upon conclusion, attendees decided to continue this meeting annually sponsored by various supporters / locations within the Interior Highlands as to help showcase this area’s uniqueness. Continuing objectives will be to increase overall conservation awareness and communication lines across these political boundaries as well as prevent ambiguous and segregated conservation decisions for the numerous resident state and federally protected species. The Arkansas Fish and Game Commission has agreed to sponsor the second annual meeting in February 2012.



Contact Info: Bryan Simmons, 417-836-5302, Bryan_simmons@Fws.gov

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