Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Adjacent land use practices have led to water quality degradation. Bridge and road construction, along with stream "cleaning" (i.e., clearing snags and detritus from stream), also have destroyed mussel habitat. The absence of the host fish during the species' parasitic larval stage may be another factor connected with the decline.
A multi-agency watershed protection program has been developed during the past 2 years to prevent water quality degradation in Fish Creek, where the sole population of white cat's paw pearly mussel occurs alongside the clubshell mussel (Pleurobema clava), which has been proposed for listing as endangered. The program aims to advise landowners about adverse impacts of certain land use practices in the watershed and the availability of alternatives for preserving water quality as well as land productivity. The first agreements with landowners are for planting woody vegetation buffers, using Federal Cropland Reserve Program and State funding. As a member of this multi-agency group, the Fish and Wildlife Service is securing through landowner agreements viable populations of mussels and other aquatic species in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan that are either listed or are candidates for listing.
Improving water quality, monitoring the viability of existing populations, locating new populations, and carrying out life history studies to better protect and manage endangered mussels are necessary.
Soil Conservation Service: This Federal agency is a partner in the Fish Creek Restoration Plan, with responsibility for reducing run-off and soil erosion, through economic agricultural conservation practices, to levels below the threshold for harm to fish and mussel species.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Also a partner in the Fish Creek Restoration Plan, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is responsible for securing viable populations of listed or candidate mussel, fish, insect, and other aquatic species in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources: In addition to cooperating with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Soil Conservation Service, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources is working to secure $1.5 million to cover protection and operation costs for the first 10 years of the Fish Creek Restoration Project.
The Nature Conservancy: As part of the multi-agency partnership, the Conservancy is developing a cooperative Fish Creek protection group that includes citizens; private organizations; local, State, and Federal officials; and representatives from the agricultural community. The Conservancy is also helping to secure the $1.5 million for protection and operation costs.
Plan approved 1/25/90.