Freshwater mussels are fascinating aquatic creatures that can tell us detailed information about the long-term health of waterways and aquatic ecosystems. Despite their importance, very little work has been done to monitor freshwater mussel populations in Wisconsin.

Twenty-eight of the 51mussels in the state are listed as threatened, endangered, special concern or species of greatest conservation need, or species with informational needs.

The goal of Milwaukee Riverkeeper’s Mussel Monitoring program is to identify mussel demographics within in the Milwaukee River Basin. This is part of a larger effort by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Mussel Monitoring Program of Wisconsin which looks to gain a statewide perspective on mussel populations. Together, we can provide much needed up-to-date information about these ecologically important river species.

Mussels are sensitive to cold temperatures so we monitor from June through September. The 2018 season will begin again on June 1.

Mussel monitors search for mussel species from June through September. Monitors follow a protocol to take pictures of any mussel species they find in the Milwaukee River Basin and send those pictures to Milwaukee Riverkeeper staff. Milwaukee Riverkeeper staff then works with WDNR to identify and track the species.

Where is the Mussel Monitoring Program taking place?

Mussel Monitors have the opportunity to explore all parts of the Milwaukee River Basin. Below are locations where currently participating Mussel Observers and Mussel Searchers can survey for mussels.

Project Partners:

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