Freshwater mussels have undergone dramatic population declines due largely to habitat alteration. A commonly employed measure to minimize the effects of anthropogenic habitat disturbance on mussels is short-distance relocations of individuals. However, quantified survival data are lacking to gauge the success of relocations. To evaluate the suitability of short-distance relocations as a conservation tool for freshwater mussels, we experimentally relocated two common species, Mucket (Actinonaias ligamentina) and Plain Pocketbook (Lampsilis cardium), in an active construction zone. We marked 100 mussels with passive integrated transponders, released them textasciitilde200 m upstream of the construction site, and monitored them monthly throughout the spring and summer 2013-2015. We used Cormack-Jolly-Seber models to estimate apparent survival rates and found survival was lowest the first two months after relocation but increased and stabilized thereafter. Our models predict 93% of the relocated A. ligamentina and 71% of the L. cardium remained alive three years post-relocation. We conclude short-distance relocations are a viable minimization tool for protecting freshwater mussels at bridge construction sites, but further study is needed examine the factors driving the initial mortality.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Freshwater Mollusk Biology and Conservation|
|State||Published - 2016|