Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Wendell R. Haag; James D. Williams
    Date: 2014
    Source: Hydrobiologia 735:45–60
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Southern Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (534.13 KB)


    The North America freshwater mussel fauna has suffered an inordinately high recent extinction rate, and the small size and isolation of many remaining populations portends a continued diminishment of this fauna. Causes of extinction and imperilment are varied but revolve around massive habitat loss, deterioration, and fragmentation. The National Strategy for the Conservation of Native Mussels, published in 1997, has guided efforts to address this crisis. Considerable progress has been made toward several of the Strategies’ goals, particularly increasing our knowledge of mussel biology, promoting mussel conservation, and development of techniques for captive mussel propagation. However, mussel conservation should focus more directly on reducing fragmentation through bold and aggressive habitat restoration. In addition to dam removal, improvement in dam tailwater flows, and restoration of channelized streams, identification of factors that eliminated mussels from many otherwise intact streams is critical. Translocation and captive propagation will be key elements in reestablishing mussel assemblages in restored habitats, but these techniques should be used with caution and primarily to increase the occurrence of a species throughout its historical range. Conserving mussel diversity in an ever-changing world is dependent on promoting the natural, long-term sustainability and evolutionary potential of mussel populations.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Haag, Wendell R.; Williams, James D. 2014. Biodiversity on the brink: an assessment of conservation strategies for North American freshwater mussels. Hydrobiologia 735:45–60.


    Restoration, Fragmentation, Extinction, Propagation, Unionoida

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page