Mussel Recovery: planning during uncertainty

If you’ve been reading the newsletter for a while, you’re aware of the cycle of the year. Winter is for managing data and making plans, while spring is for preparation, summer is busy with hands on work with the mussels on station or in the river, then fall is bringing in the animals we’ve raised and settling them in for the winter. So much of that has stayed the same with the ongoing pandemic and but the planning has gotten more interesting. Winter is still important for being prepared for the year. We start by reviewing what was successful last year before deciding what our priorities are for the next. Some of this work includes assessing the status of cages, preparing dive gear for another season, and coordinating plans with our partners. We’ve had discussions with our various State and Federal partners, as well as the staff at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, about plans for the coming season. We’re still providing extensive care for several species of host fish and the many sub-adult mussels that are overwintering in the mussel building even as we finish construction on some new systems in the mussel building.
By: Megan Bradley

The new rearing pan system in the mussel building, with hoses delivering winter-temperature pond water and nutrients to the juvenile mussels that call these pans home from October-November until approximately June, when they’ll head to an outdoor culture system for the growing season. Photo: Megan Bradley/USFWS