Press Release
Draft recovery plan yellow lance
Yellow Lance mussels at Swift Creek in the Tar River Basin showing how the shells darken as they grow. Photo by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

A draft recovery plan for the freshwater mussel, Yellow Lance (Elliptio lanceolata) is available for public review and comment until December 21, 2022. The yellow lance faces a variety of threats from declines in water quality, loss of stream flow, riparian riparian
Definition of riparian habitat or riparian areas.

Learn more about riparian
and instream habitat fragmentation, and deterioration of instream habitats. The draft recovery plan sets goals for improving the status of this mussel and provides general direction on the types of activities that are needed.  

The draft recovery plan for the yellow lance is now available at: Recovery Plans | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ( 

The yellow lance, family Unionidae, is native to Atlantic slope river basins in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Its documented historical range spanned eight river basins, including the Patuxent, Potomac, Rappahannock, York, James, Chowan, Tar-Pamlico, and Neuse drainages; however, the species is presumed to be extirpated from the Potomac River basin.  

Recovery plans provide feasible and effective roadmaps for species’ recovery, with the goal of improving their status and managing threats to the point at which protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are no longer needed. Recovery plans must be designed so that all stakeholders and the public understand the rationale behind the recovery program, whether they were involved in writing the plan or not and recognize the roles they can play in implementation of the recovery program. 

You may obtain a copy of the Draft Recovery Plan for the Yellow Lance (Elliptio lanceolata) at Recovery Plans | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ( You can send comments and request a copy of the plan by writing to; or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Raleigh Ecological Service Field Office, P.O. Box 33726, Raleigh, NC 27636. Comments must be received or postmarked by December 21, 2022. 

For more information about the yellow lance and efforts to recovery the species already underway visit: 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.  For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit  Connect with us on Facebook at, follow our tweets at, watch our YouTube Channel at, and download photos from our Flickr page at   

Story Tags

Aquatic animals
Endangered and/or Threatened species