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OR&R Participates in a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Region 5 Freshwater Mussel Workshop

MARCH 29, 2019 — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service held a Northeast (Region 5) freshwater mussel workshop at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Rice Rivers Center, in Charles City, Virginia from March 18 to March 20.

Mussels in the bottom of a basket.
Propagated mussels may be grown out in ponds until they are of tag-able size before being released into the wild. Image credit: NOAA.

Its proximity to the Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery allowed attendees to tour the facility during the meeting. The workshop was a great opportunity for OR&R's Assessment and Restoration Division to learn about the breadth and variety of freshwater mussel expertise within our sister federal agency, enhance our knowledge about these imperiled animals, and network with meeting participants.

The focus of the meeting was to share information about advances in propagation techniques, mussel health, technologies for assessing genetics, at risk and listed species, natural resource damage assessments, as well as discuss science and management needs and identify opportunities and strategies for improving and coordinating recovery and restoration of freshwater mussels. 

Action items were developed in an effort to plan for mussel conservation over the next 15 years. Freshwater mussels can be an important component of freshwater tidal and non-tidal habitats, and may dominate the benthic biomass in some systems. They can be used as toxicity test organisms, and be adversely effected by hazardous substances and by remedial action. Anyone interested in learning more about freshwater mussel life histories and the ecosystem services they provide, species identification, and propagation techniques to support ecological risk and injury assessments, injury quantification, and restoration planning can avail themselves of courses offered by the U.S. Department of Interior.

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Last updated Friday, June 14, 2019 2:06pm PDT