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

Iowa Project

Evaluating Restored Mussel Population Genetics and Survivorship

August 2018 - May 2020


Participating Agencies

  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources

This project is focused on conservation of mussel Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). Reintroducing mussel SGCN where the cause of extirpation has been reduced or eliminated will disperse risks to these species from locally catastrophic events, and increase species and river biota resilience to climate change. In Iowa 43 of the known 55 species are considered SGCN, while in Minnesota 30 of 52 known species are considered SGCN. Establishing viable mussel populations is the long-term goal of this work. A key assumption linking the actions of this project to that long-term goal is that mussels that are released at reintroduction sites will survive and grow to reproductive age. This can take 3-6 years depending on each species life history traits. Because the grant period only covers a portion of that timeframe, proportion of surviving mussels at release sites will serve as an interim indicator of progress toward the long-term goal.