Development of quantitative tools to support Species Status Assessments of freshwater mussels
August 2021 - September 2024
- US Fish and Wildlife Service
Over 70% of US freshwater mussels are potentially imperiled, with many of those being in the Southeastern US. Dozens of these species have been petitioned for review under the Endangered Species Act, but there currently is not a consistent approach for calculating species condition for data-deficient species, including many freshwater mussels. Therefore, we are developing a quantitative approach for calculating species condition that will be generalizable to multiple freshwater mussel species. This research is a collaboration among Mississippi State University, USGS Mississippi Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and biologists with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). The end product is a management-support tool that will help USFWS more rapidly and consistently evaluate resiliency, redundancy, and representation of freshwater mussels in the Southeastern US.