A spatial assessment of the status and risks to mussel concentrations in the Meramec drainage
July 2015 - June 2019
- Missouri Department of Conservation
A method to identify risks and threats to mussels in the Meramec drainage in a spatially-explicit manner is needed. This will help to develop a monitoring and conservation program for the river that maximizes probability of detection in mussel trends and probability of success for management actions. In a crucial step in our long-term plan for a conservation assessment of Missouri’s mussel fauna (Figure 1), we will use geomorphological and landscape models that identify potential core areas of abundance in the Meramec River (in progress, funded in FY15) and conduct validated and standardized sampling within those areas to determine the presence or absence of mussel concentrations in sites that otherwise have the fundamental features necessary for mussel presence. Based on correlates of occupancy of diverse mussel assemblages in these areas, we will identify risks and threats on the landscape, including both natural (e.g., isolation) and anthropogenic (e.g., dams) factors that could threaten mussel assemblages. From this information, we can classify existing areas as either: 1) vacant habitats with high potential for occupancy; 2) occupied habitats at risk; and 3) occupied habitats at low risk and develop monitoring plans and protocols for each based on their risk status. If successful in the Meramec drainage, this study will serve as a model for a statewide conservation assessment.