Through a partnership between U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, mussels were cultivated in Burnsville Lake and Sutton Lake within West Virginia. In May, multiple cages were placed with fish infested with larval mussels within the lake. Over the summer the mussels dropped from the fish and then continued to grow until the cages were recovered in October. A total of 1225 plain pocketbooks (Lampsilis cardium), and 53 black sandshells (Ligumia recta) were cultivated with an average size of 14mm. Mussels that were greater than 10mm were tagged, as shown in the pictures below. Most of the mussels will overwinter at Burnsville Lake until they are dispersed into West Virginia streams by the WV DNR in the spring.
Mussels are an important animal in our streams and represent the most imperiled of group of organisms within our District. Because they filter water for their food, they are very susceptible to all forms of pollution. These propagation efforts help to ensure the sustainability of these unique organisms.