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


Personnel

Participating Agencies

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

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
Presentations Presentation Date
Sterrett, S., P.D. Hazelton, A. Doubleday, D. Perkins, A.H. Roy, and M.D. Staudinger. 2017. Brook Floater rangewide conservation and restoration initiative. Meeting of the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society, 26-30 March 2017, Cleveland, OH. March 2017
Roy, A.H., P.D. Hazelton, S. Sterrett, A. Doubleday, A. Fisk, L. Holst, M. Marchand, D. Perkins, M.D. Staudinger, B. Swartz, and B. Watson. 2017. What's next? Brook Floater rangewide conservation and restoration initiative. Northeast Freshwater Mussel Meeting, 7 March 2017, Hadley, MA. March 2017
Sterrett, S.C. and A.H. Roy. 2017. The Brook Floater Working Group: A collaborative initiative aimed at regional population restoration and conservation. Ellipsaria 19(3):20-21. September 2017
Sterrett, S.S., L. Stevenson, M. Endries, P. Hazelton, and A.H. Roy. 2018. Freshwater mussel species distribution models to inform proactive conservation decision making. Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 15-17 April 2018, Burlington, VT. April 2018
Doubleday, A.J., P.D. Hazelton, A.H. Roy, A. Fisk, and D. Perkins. 2017. Local habitat effects on the abundance and distribution of Brook Floater (Alasmidonta varicosa) in Massachusetts. Meeting of the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society, 26-30 March 2017, Cleveland, OH. March 2017
Skorupa, A.J., A.H. Roy, P.D. Hazelton, D. Perkins, A. Fisk, and S. Sterrett. 2018. Brook floater (Alasmidonta varicosa) mesohabitat preferences in four Massachusetts watersheds. Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 15-17 April 2018, Burlington, VT. April 2018
Hazelton, P., S.S. Sterrett, and A. Roy. 2018. A standardized rapid survey protocol for rare freshwater mussels using an occupancy framework. Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 15-17 April 2018, Burlington, VT. April 2018