State: Indiana

County: Pulaski, Wabash

Water Bodies Affected: Eel River, Tippecanoe River

N Riffleshell prior to placement

Northern Riffleshell prior to placement in Lake Shafer Credit: Brant Fisher, INDNR

A bridge replacement project in Pennsylvania (at the Hunter Station bridge on the Allegheny River) is providing the ability for several federally endangered mussel species to be relocated throughout their historical ranges. Indiana DNR is planning to use this opportunity to augment Northern Riffleshell populations in the Tippecanoe River (Pulaski County) and reintroduce Clubshell back into the Eel River (Wabash County).
The Northern Riffleshell and Clubshell mussels have been extirpated throughout much of their historic range. Water quality and sedimentation issues in some streams across portions of their range have improved and are suitable to support viable populations. This project is on the heels of the successful removal of two dams in the Eel River which has increased habitat suitability for the Clubshell.

male northern riffleshell - Winamac site

Male northern riffleshell after placement in the Tippecanoe River Credit: Brant Fisher INDNR


Mussels being harvested for relocation from the Allegheny River Credit: USFWS

During the first year of this project 300-500 adult Northern Riffleshell and 300-500 adult Clubshell will be relocated from the Allegheny River to 3-5 locations on both the Tippecanoe River and Eel River. Each individual of both species will have a pit tag fixed to the shell. Two times over the course of the first year, mussels will be relocated to determine survival and potential for recruitment. Following the initial pilot study, an additional 3000-5000 adult Northern Riffleshell and 3000-5000 adult Clubshell will be relocated to these same initial locations. In addition to the movement of adult mussels, propagation techniques and host fish inoculation will also be attempted to provide additional augmentation at reintroduction sites.