Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Introduction of the exotic zebra mussel into the Mississippi River system threatens all of its native mussel species. Suspected to have been a stowaway inside the ballast tanks of a European vessel, the zebra mussel's ability to attach itself to any hard surface (including the shells of native mussels) and its rapid reproduction rate already have decimated native species. Other factors impacting the fat pocketbook mussel include sedimentation, pollution, commercial barge traffic, commercial clamming, and shoreline and near-shore development for barge fleets and other commercial projects.
The lower Wabash River population has been surveyed to assess its viability, with more than 70 fat pocketbook mussels located and marked. A general mussel survey of the Ohio River is being conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers' Louisville District, and a study to determine the fish host for the parasitic larval stage of this species is being conducted by the Illinois Department of Conservation.
The recovery objective for this species requires the existence of at least two viable populations outside the St. Francis River system in Arkansas and Missouri. If the lower Wabash River population can be preserved, it will represent one of the two required populations.
The Illinois Department of Conservation received $9,096; in FY 1991 to conduct a status survey of the fat pocketbook and determine its fish host(s).
Army Corps of Engineers: This Federal agency is conducting a general mussel survey of the Ohio River that may provide data on the distribution of the fat pocketbook.
Illinois Department of Conservation and Illinois State Natural History Survey Division: These State agencies are jointly responsible for ongoing surveys and studies of the fat pocketbook.
Original plan approved 10/4/85; revised 11/14/89.