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dark brown shell with green 0149 label in forefront with multiple other shells sticking out of sand underwater
Information icon A Louisiana pearlshell mussel. Credit: USFWS.

Louisiana Partners for Fish and Wildlife helps recover federally threatened Louisiana pearlshell mussel

Pity the poor pearlshell. Under siege from dams, beavers and sediment-filled water. Found in only two Louisiana parishes. Federally listed as a threatened species.

Help’s on the way, though.

A bevy of private and public partners has joined with the Louisiana Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to improve the mussel’s habitat and, hopefully, put the bivalve on the road to recovery.

Last summer, Monica Sikes, the recovery team’s lead biologist, helped coordinate the reintroduction of juvenile mussels on several streams in central Louisiana. She was joined by staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Kisatchie National Forest and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

Much of the attention is focused on Beaver Creek in Grant Parish where, downstream, the Partners program is working to improve habitat for the medium-sized mussel with an oblong shell. Rob Smith, the program’s private lands biologist, is spearheading efforts to upgrade road crossings on the creek. Andy Dolan, the program’s state coordinator, is helping a private landowner install fencing to keep cows from the stream. He will also replace a log-and-dirt creek crossing with a small bridge.

Both projects seek to improve water quality, habitat connectivity and give the mussels’ host fish – like the grass pickerel – more room to move.

The Partners program has contributed more than $400,000 for both projects which should take three years to complete. The streams will be monitored to determine mussel abundance.

Washed out stream crossing
A stream crossing to be replaced in Grant Parish. Credit: USFWS.

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 can make it happen, visit Connect with the Service on Facebook, follow our tweets, watch the YouTube Channel and download photos from Flickr.

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