Current Mussel Recovery Projects
Ohio River Natural Resource Damage Assessment Project: White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery is working to restore freshwater mussel populations destroyed by a hazardous substance release that occured on the Ohio River near Marietta, Ohio. The spill killed an estimated 1,000,000 freshwater mussels.
Allegheny River Bridge Project: White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery is working in conjunction with Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge, the Pennsylvania Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia DNR to salvage freshwater mussels from underneath a new bridge project on the Allegheny River at East Brady, PA. Common species were relocated upstream and two federally endangered species (the northern riffelshell and the clubshell) and one candidate species (the rayed bean) were relocated to refugia at White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery. While in refugia, experiments are being run to determine optimal feed densities for adult and juvenile mussels.
Toxicity Testing: Biologists at White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery ship juvenile rainbow mussels (Villosa iris) to the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center (CERC) in Columbia, Missouri to investigate the toxicity of coal mining-related effluents using juvenile freshwater mussels. The data collected from these studies may help re-evaluate practices used to control coal mining-related discharges to waters of the United States.
James River spinymussel Recovery: Biologists from White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery, the Virginia Field Office of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries are partnering with the Cowpasture River Preservation Association, NRCS, the U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy to help save the James River spinymussel. In 2009, the partnership will release fish with attached James River spinnymussels into the James River drainage for the third year in a row.
Ohio River Aquatic Restoration: The Ohio River is home to 116 of North America’s native freshwater mussel species. Freshwater mussels play an important role in water filtration. The spread of non-native species, particularly zebra mussels, has led to the loss of several of these native mussels, resulting in decreases in water quality and affecting ecosystem integrity.