Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Massachusetts
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Massachusetts Project

Brook Floater Research and Conservation

July 2016 - October 2021


Participating Agencies

  • Massachusetts Environmental Trust
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Brook Floater (Alasmidonta varicosa) is a stream-dwelling freshwater mussel native to the Atlantic Slope of the United States and Canada that has experienced large population declines over the last 50 years and is at high risk of extinction. The species’ distribution has been restricted to approximately 50% of its historic sites, is listed as Threatened or Endangered by most states where it occurs, and has been petitioned for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. Five states within the region were awarded a competitive State Wildlife Grant (SWG) to increase range-wide cooperative conservation efforts and strategic planning towards reducing further population losses, and defining approaches for recovery of A. varicosa. This project will focus on strategies for achieving conservation through multiple objectives: (1) Project partners will build upon findings from a recently completed range-wide status assessment. (2) Partners will develop a conservation working group that will help to develop initiate standardized surveys that will be conducted throughout partnering states to estimate abundances and predict occupancy of Brook Floater and associated SGCN mussels. (3) We will utilize Structured Decision Making approaches to focus monitoring design and conservation planning objectives at the state and regional scale. (4) We will coordinate the development of propagation methods and approaches for population restoration. (5) We will identify additional site-specific conservation actions to benefit A. varicosa and associated SGCN habitat.

Research Publications Publication Date
Sterrett, S., A. Roy, P. Hazelton, B. Watson, B. Swartz, T.R. Russ, L. Holst, M. Marchand, J. Wisniewski, M. Ashton, and B. Wicklow. 2018. Brook Floater Rapid Assessment Monitoring Protocol. U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Cooperator Science Series FWS/CSS-132-2018, Washington, D.C. | Publisher Website September 2018
Skorupa, A.J., A.H. Roy, P.D. Hazelton, D. Perkins, T. Warren, and B.S. Cheng. Submitted. Food and water quality impact in situ growth of a freshwater mussel: implications for population restoration. Freshwater Science. | Download April 2024
Presentations Presentation Date
Hazelton, P., A.J. Skorupa, H.A. Robinson, J. Wares, and A.H. Roy. 2023. Determination of mussel host fish relationships: In-situ vs laboratory approaches. Freshwater Mussel Recovery and Implementation Workshop, Nov 8–9, 2023, Moncton, New Brunswick. November 2023
Baker, M., J. Carmignani, B. Irwin, A. Roy, C. Rushing, S. Sterrett, B. Swartz, and P. Hazelton. 2024. An application of capture-recapture methods for long term monitoring if freshwater mussel populations. Georgia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, 13-15 February 2024, LaGrange, GA. February 2024
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Skorupa, A. 2022. Developing a restoration strategy for Brook Floater (Alasmidonta varicosa) in Massachusetts. Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst. February 2022