Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
First year for the CRI freshwater mussel project completed: Details on the spectaclecase portion
Midwest Region, October 17, 2013
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2013 marked the first year of the Cooperative Recovery Initiative project "The Return of Big River Endangered Freshwater Mussels." This is a multi-year, multi-regional project, with Region 5 Refuges as lead. The overall goal of the project is to establish two to four new populations of endangered freshwater mussel species on or near the Ohio River Valley National Wildlife Refuge in West Virginia. Four species were chosen (clubshell, purple cat’s paw, orange-foot pimpleback, and spectaclecase) which will allow the team to maximize the chances for success over a three-year period.


As the national lead for the spectaclecase mussel, Twin Cities Field office coordinated the efforts pertaining to this species for this multi-species project. The specific goals for spectaclecase are to obtain up to 15 gravid females from the Green River, KY, develop propagation techniques (i.e., identify workable fish host or in vitro techniques) needed to stock 100 – 1000 juveniles at a minimum of two sites on or near the Ohio River Valley National Wildlife Refuge (one to two year classes); and to collect tissue or buccal swabs from individuals in source populations for genetics analysis. The anticipated project completion date is in FY 2016.

Persistent high water in the Ohio River Basin in 2013 impacted the spring-time work with the spectaclecase, which is when females are gravid. Therefore, no gravid females were collected in 2013. In September, however, contractors were able to find and place 37 individual spectaclecase in two cages and position them so that they can be retrieved in the spring of 2014. Students of Dr. David Berg from Miami University of Ohio took genetic samples from all 37 individuals.

Contact Info: Tamara Smith, 612-725-3548 (x2219), tamara_smith@fws.gov
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