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Partners in fish restoration and partners in mussel restoration
Midwest Region, July 17, 2020
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A freshwater drum juvenile, a valuable mussel host fish.
A freshwater drum juvenile, a valuable mussel host fish. - Photo Credit: Photo by USFWS.
Multisizer III particle analyzer used to sample food particles in water.
Multisizer III particle analyzer used to sample food particles in water. - Photo Credit: Photo by USFWS.

Sometimes the stars align just perfectly and allow us to partner with some of our traditional partners in a relatively new emerging resource area such as mussel restoration. It especially works well when our partners are as passionate about the resource as the St. Regis Mohawk tribe of northern New York.

The hatchery has an ongoing relationship with the tribe involving lake sturgeon restoration. Genoa has been actively supplying lake sturgeon fingerlings for northern New York waters since 2011. The tribe has recently become interested in freshwater mussel propagation for restoration due to recent tribal aquatic resource recovery plans that include mussel restoration using propagation as a recovery tool.

Further contacts were made when tribal biologists attended the Freshwater Mussel Propagation for Restoration course at the Service's National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Genoa mussel biologists assist in teaching and formulation of that class as well as the Conservation Biology of Freshwater Mussels course offered there. Through these classes a relationship was formed. We agreed to assist in drafting a cooperative agreement in order to further the tribe's freshwater mussel propagation program through technical expertise and assistance, providing host fish of various species, analyzing food content of the tribes hatchery water supplies, and reviewing designs of the tribal hatchery in order to suggest improvements relating to freshwater mussel propagation.

In the past year, this partnership has proven effective by supplying two shipments of freshwater drum, a host fish for two species of concern referenced in the Lower Grasse River Mussel Recovery plan. The tribe was provided a review of their newly constructed mussel propagation lab and review of the quality assurance project plan focusing on freshwater mussel propagation. This is a great start to a valuable partnership to conserve fish and aquatic resources in tribal waters. We look forward to the future and all of the potential to opportunities to further the stewardship of aquatic resources with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.


Contact Info: Doug Aloisi, 608-689-2605, Doug_Aloisi@fws.gov
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