The Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources have been working together to recover the endangered James spinymussel since 2007. The partnership reached a major milestone in the summer of 2022 for the recovery of the species with the release of young mussels into the upper James River, marking the first time in 60 years that James spinymussels can be found back in the mainstem of their namesake river - the James River. Indeed, the hatchery has stocked more than 3,000 spinymussels into three tributaries to the James River and one to the Dan River to boost local population densities and decrease the likelihood that a single catastrophic event could wipe out the entire species. About 1,300 of the released mussels were tagged with a unique number to monitor the population’s recovery after the release. Half of the released mussels received a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag which can be detected by a special antennae or PIT tag reader. While stocking mussels back into improved historical habitats is an important step to recovering the species, the return of the James spinymussel into our rivers also helps improve the health of the river for all species that call the James River basin home.

Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources have restored populations of mussels for over 20 species in Virginia’s Atlantic slope rivers.

Contact Information

Two biologists on a boat on the Nottoway River, Virginia.
Hatchery Manager
Fish and Aquatic Conservation
Freshwater Mussel Biology and Ecology,
Freshwater Mussel Culture,
Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Population Restoration,
Fish Culture
Charles City,VA



Dozens of silver fish swim over a rocky stream bed.
Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery is a 444-acre facility of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service located in the quiet rural setting of Virginia's historic tidewater plantation country. Established and constructed in the 1930s to raise warm-water fish for stocking in lakes and ponds, Harrison Lake...