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Higgins eye (Lampsilis higginsii) and winged mapleleaf (Quadrula fragosa)

Restoring freshwater mussels in the Upper Mississippi River

 

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Dan Kelner, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Roger Gordon, FWS Genoa National Fish Hatchery, hold a tray of juvenile Higgins eye pearlymussels that were propagated in the Upper Mississippi River in 2003.

 

Photo by USFWS: Gary Wege, Twin Cities ES Field Office

Since 2000, a number of measures have been used to conserve and restore federally endangered Higgins eye (Lampsilis higginsii) and winged mapleleaf (Quadrula fragosa) mussels in the Upper Mississippi River.

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the interagency Mussel Coordination Team as part of the requirements in the Biological Opinion for continued operation and maintenance of the federal 9-Foot Channel Project on the Upper Mississippi River System (UMRS). 

 

Over the last eight years major accomplishments have included: 1) identifying host fish for winged mapleleaf; 2) hatchery and cage propagation of Higgins eye and winged mapleleaf; 3) stocking adult, subadult, and juvenile Higgins eye into the Upper Mississippi River and tributaries to establish five new and viable populations; 4) collecting sexually mature Higgins eye at age 4 that were stocked as subadults; 5) collecting subadult Higgins eye at population establishment sites where infested fish were released; 6) developing marking techniques for stocked subadults; 7) testing a floating cage system; 8) developing a Geographic Information System mussel database and Internet web site; 9) determining thermal requirements for transformation of Higgins eye and winged mapleleaf glochidia; and 10) implementing conservation activities for other native mussels. 

 

A report documenting the actions is available online at the St. Paul District Corps of Engineers website http://www.mvp.usace.army.mil/.  Click on the Environment Tab, then on the left side scroll down to "Endangered Species - Conservation of native Mussels".  Then on the right side under "Additional Information", click on "Mussel Coordination Status Report".

 

Visit Genoa Fish Hatchery's website for photos and descriptions of the propagation and restocking efforts.

 

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Last updated: April 1, 2014