The Aquatic Resource Recovery Center
Biologists with White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery's Aquatic Resource Recovery Center (ARRC) have experience propagating and rearing over 30 species of freshwater mussel, including 16 threatened and endangered species (click here to view the ARRC Fact Sheet). Uniquely located near the eastern continental divide, ARRC has successfully tagged and released federally endangered and common freshwater mussels to both the Atlantic Slope and Interior Basin drainages. ARRC can not only provide stockable juveniles (>10mm) for endangered species recovery but also for population augmentation, habitat restoration, mitigation projects and toxicity testing. Juvenile mussels produced at ARRC help re-establish freshwater mussel beds as critical in-stream habitat. Healthy mussel beds provide fish and other aquatic organisms with their most basic needs – food, shelter and clean water. In addition to juvenile propagation, ARRC biologists have been providing salvage and refuge for adult freshwater mussels threatened by pollution, bridge construction or exotic species for over 10 years. With outdoor ponds and indoor raceways, ARRC can provide refuge to over 2000 federally endangered and common freshwater mussels. Information critical to recovery efforts is gathered from juvenile and adult freshwater mussels held at ARCC including optimal feeding regimes for endangered species, the effect of protein limited diets on broodstock condition, non-lethal measures of condition for endangered species held in captivity and other captive care protocols. Mussel recovery efforts would not be possible without a quality food source, so ARCC biologists use state-of-the-art technology (Biofence) to grow a special live algal mix designed to maximize juvenile growth rates and maintain broodstock condition. Each Biofence produces over 25 gallons of dense algal cultures every day that can centrifuged down to a paste and shipped to other facilities across the country. ARRC’s extensive experience with mussel surveys, mussel bed restoration, population assessment, habitat assessments and GIS is critical to both endangered species recovery and mussel bed restoration. Finally, ARRC undertands the importance of getting our message out to the public so our biologists provide free seminars to local school groups and civic organizations as well as free tours of the mussel propagation and algae production facilities.