OFFICE OF RESOURCE CONSERVATION
State of Illinois
PROJECT TITLE: Developing a Propagation Technique for Native Illinois River CWCP Mussels
PURPOSE: The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), will
experiment with captive rearing of the butterfly mussel, a species of special concern in the state as listed in the
Wildlife Action Plan, within a restored (but not reconnected) backwater of the Illinois River at TNC’s Spunky
Bottoms Preserve (Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, X Appendices-Appendix I, p. 295). TNC will adapt
propagation techniques developed for Higgins Eye mussel recovery on the Mississippi River to determine the
best possible methods for propagating these mussels, and whether the techniques can be used to reestablish
viable mussel populations in the Illinois River.
NEED: A greater proportion of freshwater mussels are considered “Species in Greatest Need of Conservation” (29 of 61; 48%) than any other taxonomic group; an additional 19 species are extinct or extirpated (Illinois
Wildlife Action Plan, III. B, pp 31-33). Approximately 49 species of freshwater mussels have been
documented from the Illinois River (IR), but fewer than half are still present. The butterfly mussel, Ellipsaria
lineolata, formerly relatively abundant and widely distributed in the IR, has been extirpated from the river
since the early 1900’s. The species is of special concern in the state and is listed in the Illinois Wildlife Action
Plan (Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, X Appendices-Appendix I, p. 295). The reported fish hosts (freshwater
drum, green sunfish and sauger) for the butterfly, necessary for completion of the unionid life cycle, are
present in the IR and are abundant in many sections of the river. This mussel’s elimination from the IR has been attributed to siltation and poor water quality. Recent studies indicate that some species of freshwater
mussels have begun to recover as conditions in the IR improve; however, those mussels still have source
populations located in the IR or its tributaries which can provide the individuals needed for recolonization.
Historic general distribution ranges for E. lineolata include the Mississippi River drainage from western Pennsylvania west to Minnesota, south to eastern Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998).
The mussel, once present in the Illinois River in significant numbers has in recent history been all but
eliminated. Surveys of the IR dating back to 1870 showed E. lineolata from 1870 through 1912 and subsequent surveys in 1969 showed it as absent from the system. The most recent survey recorded only one
individual at mile marker 48.4 in the Alton pool (Whitney, et al, 1997). Status of the mussel indicates it is a
species of special concern in Tennessee and also in Illinois (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998). It is currently listed
as a threatened species in Iowa and endangered in both Ohio and Wisconsin (Cummings and Mayer, 1992).
Interviews with resource professionals and literature review indicate no viable populations of Ellipsaria
lineolata remaining within the Illinois River or its tributaries. To reintroduce this species, or other extirpated species, to the IR requires a means of reestablishing a source population. The source population should be a
regional ecotype adapted to the water and climate of the area and also be of sufficient size to provide adequate
numbers of individuals to establish a reproductively viable population in the river. With adequate water
quality and the necessary fish host for completion of the mussel’s life cycle, mussels which have been
extirpated could be reestablished, restoring some of the mussel diversity formerly characteristic of the IR.
This project directly meets the following objective for the butterfly mussel: “Experimental propagation, modeled after Lampsilis higginsi (Higgins Eye) efforts in the Mississippi, should be refined with other species
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in other systems…and evaluated as an effective conservation action.” (Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, F:
Research, Monitoring and Evaluation; p.101)
OBJECTIVES: The objectives of the proposed research are to:
1) Investigate the suitability of Spunky Bottoms for butterfly mussel propagation by reviewing water
quality and food availability data which has already been collected on site. An alternate site proposed
would be The Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve. Since this grant proposal development, Emiquon has
undergone extensive restoration activities and water has returned to the site. Suitable sites with dependable
water levels have been identified and could be used if water levels diminish or water quality parameters fall
outside parameters at Spunky Bottoms. Timeframe: May - June 2008. Estimated % of budget: 5
2. Collect approximately 20-40 gravid female mussels from pool 19 of the Mississippi River. Transfer
mussels to Genoa national Fish Hatchery for host infestation procedure. Timeframe: July 2008. Estimated %
of budget: 10.
3. Propagate mussels with host fish from the Genoa, WI fish hatchery using two water quality
treatments, aerated and unaerated, in 10 cages each at the TNC’s Illinois River backwater restoration
site at Spunky Bottoms near Meredosia, IL TNC’s Emiquon Preserve near Havana, IL may serve as a suitable alternate location for the project if needed. Timeframe: August 2008- June 2010. Estimated % of
4. Monitor and compare treatments of propagated mussels at project site (Spunky or Emiquon
alternate). Timeframe: August 2008-June 2010. Estimated % of budget: 30.
5. Determine sites along the Alton reach of the Illinois River for mussel reintroduction using historic bed
distribution. Timeframe: April-May 2010. Estimated % of budget: 3.
6. Reintroduce propagated mussels at determined sites along the Illinois River. Timeframe: June 2010.
Estimated % of budget: 2.
7. Complete analysis of monitoring data to determine differences between propagation techniques.
Timeframe: June 1-October 1, 2010. Estimated % of budget: 5.
8. Produce final recommendations and project report. Timeframe: Due December 31, 2010. Estimated % of budget: 5.
EXPECTED RESULTS OR BENEFITS: The proposed propagation techniques have been successfully used on the Higgins Eye mussel and the proposed project will test the success of applying the techniques to another
species of mussel as required in the IWAP (p. 101). Currently conservation professionals within the Upper
Mississippi River basin have experienced some success using similar propagation techniques within main stem
river and connected floodplain areas. However, certain realities of these systems such as flooding, current,
sedimentation, and exotic species have been limiting factors to widespread success. If the techniques
developed through this project prove successful, the process could be a model for other mussel species
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propagation work in controlled backwater environments and will help restore mussel diversity to the Illinois
River. Baseline information on growth and development of the butterfly mussel will be collected which can
later be compared to historical data as well as provide a metric for future projects with this or other mussel
species. The final deliverable will be a research paper on the techniques and results of this project that will be
submitted for publication. Presentations on the methods and results of this research study will also be
presented at scientific conferences.
This project will move Illinois closer to the statewide objective for mussels: maintain populations at all
currently occupied locations and reestablish at 50% or more historic locations where suitable habitat persists or
can be restored (Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, C; p.40). The Streams Campaign identified one of the priority
actions as restoring populations of imperiled and extirpated aquatic animals, including reintroducing native
species when decimating factors have been eliminated and natural recovery is unlikely (Illinois Wildlife
Action Plan, Streams Campaign Action 4b; p. 63 and Illinois Wildlife Action Plan, F: Research, Monitoring
and Evaluation; p.101).
Objective 1: Investigate the suitability of the site for butterfly mussel propagation by reviewing water quality and food availability data which has already been collected on site. Project collaborators will
review water quality data, water levels, and algal community composition collected by TNC staff and Western
Illinois University staff in previous monitoring activities. The previously gathered data is not reflected in the
overall project budget. TNC’s Emiquon Preserve may act as an alternate project site if Spunky Bottoms is
deemed unsuitable because of low water levels or other variables such as dissolved oxygen and food
availability. Emiquon may be suitable to use as a backup site also in the event of a catastrophic flood
overtopping of the Spunky Bottoms river levee system. This type of event would be highly unlikely given the
fact that the current levee system is substantial and no flood overtopping has occurred at Spunky Bottoms
since the levees were installed in the 1930’s.
Objective 2: Collect approximately 20-40 gravid female mussels from pool 19 of the Mississippi River.
Transfer mussels to Genoa national Fish Hatchery for host infestation procedure.
Female butterfly mussels will be collected from Pool 19 of the Mississippi River. There is a large population
of these mussels at this location and the location is geographically similar, with approximately the same
latitude and climate, to the proposed IR propagation and release sites. The shell of E. lineolata is noticeably
dimorphic with the females generally being smaller in relation to males as well as being more swollen and
inflated posteriorly (Parmalee and Bogan, 1998). From expert reports a substantial number of butterfly mussels
can be found in shallow, off-channel sections of Pool 19 and they are easily located by “puddling”. This
method involves searching by tactile means in 3 to 4 feet of water. Secondary means of collection will be by
brail bar towed behind a boat. Project staff, IDNR collaborators, and students from the Western Illinois
University Kibbe Field Station will be assisting in the collection. Mussels will be collected between June and
August when the butterfly is typically gravid. Adult gravid females will be transported to the fish hatchery at
Genoa, WI with hatchery tank equipment from IDNR Fisheries. As part of the Higgins Eye recovery plan,
personnel at this site have successfully completed the parasitic glochidial phase of the mussel life cycle.
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Project staff will assist IDNR staff at the Havana Fisheries Field Station in the construction of twenty floating
cage systems. Plans and a prototype have been acquired from the Genoa Fish hatchery and will be used in
construction of the cages.
Objective 3. Propagate mussels with host fish from the Genoa, WI fish hatchery using two water quality treatments, aerated and unaerated, in 10 cages each at the TNC’s Illinois River backwater restoration
site at Spunky Bottoms near Meredosia, IL. . Known hosts for E. lineolata are green sunfish, freshwater
drum, and sauger (Fuller, 1978). All these are locally abundant and also can be obtained from the hatchery
certified VHS free. These fish will be infested at the Genoa hatchery and then transported to TNC’s Illinois
River backwater restoration site at Spunky Bottoms near Meredosia, IL (or the Emiquon alternative). The
infested fish will be placed in cages held in the backwater lake adjacent to the IR. This provides a controlled
environment where disturbance can be minimized and water quality conditions can be monitored. Ten cages
will be placed in each of two treatments, aerated and unaerated. Cages will be secured by means of aircraft
cable and up to six concrete anchors per cage. The aeration system will be secured similarly and buoyed by a
PVC float. The areas chosen for the cage arrays is naturally isolated and secluded from strong winds by berms
made from ditch spoil piled up from years of ditch maintenance.
After parasitic infestation and glochidial transformation is complete, which typically takes up to three weeks,
host fish will be removed by project staff and released at the project site. The selected host species are already
present at Spunky Bottoms and the proposed alternative site.
Objective 4. Monitor and compare treatments of propagated mussels at project site (Spunky or Emiquon alternate). One numbered cage will be selected by random number generation for each treatment and juvenile mussel survival will be monitored at the beginning and end of the growing season in May and October.
Growth rates will be determined based on shell length using calipers. Mussels will also be weighed in grams
using small field suitable scales. Relative weights (Wr) will be calculated and recorded for comparison to
known wild population Wr from literature. Survivorship and growth rates will be compared between
treatments. Growth rates of the propagated mussels will also be compared to rates established from the parent
population. This will be completed during the two propagation years of the project.
Water quality parameters such as dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids, temperature, pH, and turbiditiy will
be measured and recorded using two Yellow Springs Instrumentation long term deployment eco-sonde
systems. These systems will be cleaned and data downloaded to a lap top computer once every other month
for the duration of the project. Project staff will compile the water quality data into table form for analysis and
Objective 5. Determine sites along the Alton reach of the Illinois River for mussel reintroduction using historic bed distribution. During the final propagation season T. Hobson along with D. Corgiat and D. Sallee
will consult historic mussel bed distribution records and confer with other resource professionals such as the
Illinois Natural History Survey’s Long Term Monitoring Program staff to determine a suitable site for the
propagated individuals to be reintroduced.
Objective 6. Reintroduce propagated mussels at determined sites along the Illinois River. Once shell
length has reached approximately 30 mm (about 2 years growth) individuals will be uniquely marked and
placed at determined sites within the Alton Reach of the Illinois River for subsequent monitoring during the
next season in July. Placement of the mussels will be accomplished through direct over board distribution. All
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future monitoring will be conducted by TNC and IDNR staff outside the scope of this project. The site will be
uniquely identified using hand held GPS in the field and recorded for return.
Objective 7. Complete analysis of monitoring data to determine differences between propagation techniques. Project collaborators will determine propagation success through analysis of data gathered throughout the project life. Success and or failure of the technique will be measured based on the number of
individuals produced and their growth rates to determine differences between propagation techniques. Lessons
learned through the project may ultimately benefit not only butterfly mussel on the Illinois River but other
species of concern as well. Currently propagation success seen on the Mississippi River with Higgins eye
mussel and select others has not been able to be duplicated on the Illinois basically because of the lack of trials
Objective 8. Produce final recommendations and project report. T. Hobson along with assistance from
project collaborators will compile data into paper and poster form for scientific presentation and review. The
importance of this project is in determining the best approach to captive propagation in an isolated Illinois
River backwater environment. If successful this approach can be duplicated at one of three similar sites along
the Illinois. Proper presentation and review is key to understanding the process and disseminating information
to conservation professionals throughout the region. Authors, contributors, and editors will include T. Hobson,
D. Sallee, S. McClure, D. Perry, Doug Blodgett, D. Corgiat, and Jim Herkert. Paper presentations will be
made at Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society and Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee
Emergency contingency plans: The river levee system was constructed at Spunky Bottoms in the 1930’s and
has never been over topped during a flood event. If this unlikely scenario presents itself the cages can be
salvaged and the mussels, host fish, and cages can be transferred via hatchery truck to the Emiquon Preserve
less than one hour away. River levels within one foot of the levee top and forecast rise will trigger the
LOCATION: The Nature Conservancy’s Spunky Bottoms Preserve is located in Sections 5-8, T2S, R1W and
Sections 12-14, T2S, R2W, in Brown County, Illinois and is in Congressional Districts 18 & 20. The Preserve
lies between a high bluff locally known as Spunky Ridge and the Illinois River, and is across from the U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service’s Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge.
An alternate location, The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve is located in Sections 3,4,5,8,9,16,17, and
20, T4N-R4E, in Fulton County along the Illinois River.
PROJECT SCHEDULE: 2008
May T. Hobson & D. Perry spend 4 days @ Havana Field Station constructing 20 cages.
June T. Hobson, D. Perry & S. McClure to spend 2 days setting up the 20 cages at Spunky Bottoms Preserve.
June T. Hobson, M. Lemke & D. Perry spend 1 day to install water monitoring equipment.
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July-August T. Hobson, D. Perry, S. McClure & M. Lemke of TNC and D. Sallee & D. Corgiat of IDNR spend
2 days collecting gravid female butterfly mussels on Pool 19 of the Mississippi River and transport to the Genoa
hatchery. They will be assisted by volunteers from Western Illinois University (WIU)’s Kibbe Station and Rick
Anderson of WIU.
August/September IDNR Hatchery truck picks up infested fish at Genoa fish hatchery and delivers to project
site. T. Hobson, D. Perry, & S. McClure spend 1 day to place fish in cages at Spunky Bottoms Preserve.
October T. Hobson & D. Perry spend 1 day to release the host fish into project site waters.
November S. McClure & M. Lemke spend 1 day to download data, clean & calibrate monitoring equipment.
January S. McClure spends 1 day to download data, clean & calibrate monitoring equipment.
March S. McClure spends 1 day to download data, clean & calibrate monitoring equipment.
May S. McClure spends 1 day to download data, clean & calibrate monitoring equipment.
T. Hobson & D. Perry spend 1 day to record and assess total mussel population count, size, and weight
measurements for a randomly selected cage.
July S. McClure spends 1 day to download data, clean & calibrate monitoring equipment.
October S. McClure spends 1 day to download data, clean & calibrate monitoring equipment. T. Hobson & D. Perry spend 1 day to record and assess total mussel population count, size, and weight
measurements for a randomly selected cage.
January S. McClure spends 1 day to download data, clean & calibrate monitoring equipment.
March S. McClure spends 1 day to download data, clean & calibrate monitoring equipment. T. Hobson reviews literature and expert analysis of best locations for mussel re-introductions. Grant project
team meets to review project and select sites for mussel reintroduction.
May S. McClure spends 1 day to download data, clean & calibrate monitoring equipment.
T. Hobson & E. Fatka spend 1 day to record and assess total mussel population count, size, and weight
measurements for each cage.
June D. Corgiat of IDNR and T. Hobson, D. Perry & M. Lemke of TNC spend 2 days to mark and release mussels on selected historic bed sites on the Alton Reach of the Illinois River, located near the Spunky
June – December T. Hobson, D. Sallee, S. McClure, D. Perry, Doug Blodgett, D. Corgiat, and Jim Herkert
will compile data and write final reports.
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TNC Project Manager
11034 N. Prairie Rd
Lewistown, IL 61542
TNC Grant Manager
8 S. Michigan Ave., Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603
IDNR Project Manager
Havana Field Office th St. 700 S. 10
FEDERAL TOTAL BY OBJECT
SHARE STATE SHARE MATCH TOTALS CATEGORIES
SALARIES AND WAGES $1,900 $7,726 $10,500 $18,226 $20,126 FRINGE BENEFITS $760 $4,200 $4,200 $4,960 TRAVEL $1,000 $1,000 $1,000 EQUIPMENT SUPPLIES/COMMODITIES $20,600 $20,600 CONTRACTUAL $1,500 $1,500 CONSTRUCTION
CHARGES $24,760 $7,726 $15,700 $23,426 $48,186
INDIRECT CHARGES $6,286 $11,238 F&A 20% TDC $4,952 F&A 25.02% TDC $1,933 F&A 23% TDC $3,611 Unrecovered F&A (20% v.
23%) $742 TOTALS $29,712 $9,659 $20,053 $29,712 $59,424
50% 16% 34% 50% 100%
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RELATED GRANTS: none
Salaries and Wages:
PROJECT PERSONNEL, FEDERAL SHARE
TNC Restoration Technician, Perry, estimate 20 days over the 3 year project
PROJECT PERSONNEL, MATCH (STATE/TNC SHARE)
TNC project manager, Hobson, estimate 30 days over the 3 year project period =$4500 TNC project assistant, McClure, estimate 14 days over the 3 year project period =$1300 TNC aquatic ecologist, Lemke, estimate 14 days over the 3 year project period =$2400 TNCI IL River Program Director, Doug Blodgett, estimate 7 days over the 3 year proj. period =$1700 TNC Illinois Director of Science, Herkert, estimate 3 days over the 3 year project period =$600 IDNR biologist, Corgiat & IDNR professionals, Sallee and Mick
3.3 days/year/person over the 3 year project period =$7726
IDNR staff Dan Sallee and Dean Corgiat are co-investigators on the project reviewing data for the project site
and contributing professional experience. Sallee and Corgiat will also be involved in picking gravid female
mussels on the pool 19 of the Mississippi. Sallee will accompany an IDNR hatchery truck in transporting host
fish to the project site from Genoa Hatchery. Sallee and Corgiat will provide periodic review and oversight to
the project as well as contributing to the final report paper.
Jim Mick and/or Havana field office staff will build cages. Mick will provide some project oversight and
Fringe Benefits: Federally approved fringe benefits rate for TNC is 40% of salaries.
Travel: ALL MATCH (TNC SHARE) - estimate $400 for Genoa hatchery trip, $300 for Mississippi River trip,
and $300 for project meetings over the 3 year project period
Equipment: No funds are requested for purchase of equipment.
Supplies/Commodities: ALL FEDERAL SHARE – TNC will purchase the following supplies which are shown with their
2 water monitoring sondes @ $4,000 each 8,000
oxygen bubbler 1,800
calipers, cables, weights, to make & keep the
monitors operational 600
materials to build 20 fish cages 10,200
Total Supplies/Commodities 20,600
Contractual: ALL FEDERAL SHARE -
Funds are requested to pay for water sample analysis. Contractor TBD.
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Dan Sallee has mussel collection permit for taking brood stock from Mississippi.
Genoa National Fish Hatchery will provide certified VHS free fish for transport into Illinois.
The IDNR will use its CERP (Comprehensive Environmental Review
Process) as a tool to aid the Department in meeting NEPA compliance for the project outlined under this grant proposal. It is the Department’s policy to require CERP
applications for all land disturbing activities unless those activities are covered by CERP exemptions (see the enclosed Comprehensive Environmental Review Process
All work identified in this proposal is believed to be addressed by categorical Exclusion 1.4B(1). If exceptions are identified or the scope of the work changes during the execution of the proposed projects, the Federal Aid Division of the USFWS will be contacted to determine if additional NEPA compliance actions are needed.
All planned activities will also be in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. All determinations and documentation will in accordance with the current established U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service protocols for Section 7.
All planned activities will be in compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act and the Council on Historic Preservation Act. All determinations and documentation will be in accordance with the terms of the Programmatic Agreement, as amended, effective September 23, 2002.
When applicable, those planned activities which involve a floodplain and/or jurisdiction wetlands will be done in accordance with Presidential Executive Orders 11988 and 11990.
When applicable, those planned activities which involve the use of pesticides, herbicides or other comparable chemicals wills be done in accordance with current state and federal regulations to assure the safe and legal application of those chemicals. All chemicals will be applied in accordance with the manufacturer’s label instructions. All persons applying
chemicals will be licensed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture as a chemical operator along with a licensed applicator, in accordance with Illinois state law.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 2005. Illinois Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan-Strategy (Illinois Wildlife Action Plan). Illinois Department of Natural Resources. 353 p.
Parmalee, Paul W., Bogan, Arthur E. The Freshwater Mussels of Tennessee. 1998. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. 73-74 pp.
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Whitney, Scott D., Blodgett, K. Douglas, Sparks, Richard E. 1997. A Comprehensive Mussel Survey of the Illinois River. A Special Draft Bulletin of the Illinois Natural History Survey. Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, IL. 3p. and C-13p.
Cummings, Kevin S., Mayer, Christine A. 1992. Freshwater Mussels of the Midwest. Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, IL. 106 p.
SITE MAP ATTACHED
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