Restoring Freshwater Mussels by Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

Most of the freshwater mussels in Virginia are listed as species of greatest conservation need in the state wildlife action plan. The health of freshwater mussels is often an early indicator for disease and pollution that affect us all. Half of Virginia’s 81 species of mussels are endangered or threatened species and others are declining at an alarming rate. 

These mussels are important food sources for other wildlife, filter the water they live in, and depend on good water quality. State Wildlife Grant funds are being used to raise mussels in a hatchery and then release them into streams to bolster and restore declining populations. Cooperation with private landowners also helps restore and enhance mussel habitat. This proactive and cost-effective approach will prevent more mussels from becoming endangered and benefit the health of wildlife and people.

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