Mussel Survey and Relocation

Elk+River+L+fas+juv.JPG

Donec ullamcorper nulla non metus auctor fringilla. Nullam id dolor id nibh ultricies vehicula ut id elit. Integer posuere erat a ante venenatis dapibus posuere velit aliquet.

 

Ecological Services

EcoAnalysts St. Louis, Missouri area team specializes in providing studies and advice concerning freshwater organisms to industry, state, and federal agencies. The EcoAnalysts staff is experienced in ecological studies related to mussels (unionids), zebra mussels, aquatic insects, fish, large river, small stream, and lake habitats. Our biologists and malacologists are familiar with current research and have excellent working relationships with state and federal agencies from North Dakota to Texas and east to New York. Our ADC-certified divers are experienced with aquatic sampling methods and are highly skilled in surface-supplied diving, the most efficient method of collecting in waters with low visibility and strong currents. EcoAnalysts owns all the equipment necessary for fieldwork, including custom-built dive boats, surface-supplied dive system, GPS equipment, and water quality meters, allowing our clients scheduling flexibility and assuring them reliable results.

Our sampling methods and mitigation solutions are readily accepted by regulatory agencies and have been presented as standards to other consulting firms. These sampling methods are currently being taught by our Science Coordinator, Heidi Dunn, at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s National Conservation Training Center.

What We Do

We consider your project’s objectives, design, and operation, as well as regulatory policies and ecosystem needs, to develop practical solutions and mitigation options.

  • Threatened and endangered species regulatory agency consultation and mitigation design

  • Freshwater mussels, fish, and macroinvertebrates: biological monitoring and survey

We believe development and environmental needs can be balanced, permitting economic growth without adverse environmental impacts. We strive to develop mitigation solutions that meet the needs of aquatic species, regulatory agencies, and our clients.

Freshwater Mussel Surveys and Relocation

EcoAnalysts expert staff have conducted over 650 unionid mussel surveys in large rivers and smaller creeks throughout the Midwest. Our experience includes endangered species surveys, impact assessments, relocations, and long-term monitoring of unionid communities, as well as Biological Assessment preparation, evaluation of impacts using modeling results, mitigation design and implementation, and formal consultation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These services are usually associated with developments such as bridge replacements, water uptake/discharge facilities, hydropower generation, barge fleeting, sand and gravel dredging, and river channel modifications.

Our mussel survey and relocation methods and mitigation recommendations have served as standards for many state agencies in the Midwest and helped guide the USFWS protocol for mussel surveys in the Ohio River and Mississippi Rivers, and the Wisconsin DNR protocols for mussel relocation.

Surface-Supplied Diving

Our ADC-certified divers are experienced with aquatic sampling methods and are highly skilled in surface-supplied diving, the most efficient and safe method of collecting in waters with low visibility and strong currents. EcoAnalysts owns all the equipment necessary for fieldwork, including custom-built dive boats, surface supplied dive system, GPS equipment, and water quality meters, allowing our clients scheduling flexibility and assuring them reliable results.

Project Highlights

Bend Road, Meramec River Mussel Survey

Mussel Sampling; Large riverine biological survey and assessment; Statistical analysis; Impact analysis; Biological; Assessment/Agency Coordination; SCUBA diving

Prior to replacing the Bend Road bridge over the Meramec River, Franklin County hired EcoAnalysts staff to conduct a mussel survey from upstream of the existing bridge to downstream of the proposed new bridge using SCUBA diving. After identifying two mussel beds, EcoAnalysts staff worked with Franklin County, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Missouri Department of Conservation to develop a plan to avoid or minimize bridge construction and demolition impacts to these mussel beds and endangered species.

Baseline Studies, Long-term Monitoring and Thermal Impact Analysis at Quad Cities Nuclear Station (Exelon)

QCNS discharges its thermal effluent into the Mississippi River and while investigating an application for an alternate thermal standard, hired EcoAnalysts staff, to ensure that an alternate standard would not affect an indigenous shellfish community under 316(a) of the Clean Water Act, and to mitigate impacts under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act.

The unionid life cycle (spawning, glochidia release, fish host activity, fish host infestation period) and behavior (siphoning/feeding rates, burrowing) is temperature dependent, however the thermal triggers and critical thermal maximums for most species are unknown. A unionid monitoring program was established to satisfy Section 316(a) and Section 10 requirements. Data from the mussel monitoring program were used to demonstrate that QCNS would not affect the integrity of the indigenous freshwater mussel community and develop the first freshwater mussel Habitat Conservation Plan.