2020 October

PNW Native Freshwater Mussel Workgroup Quarterly Meeting

Minutes of October 21, 2020 at 1:00

Patty Morrison; Rob Plotnikoff; Emilie Blevins; Al Smith; RD Nelle; Jeanette Howard; Liz Bockstiegel; Julie Tyson; Rebecca Paradis; Marie Winkowski; Teal Waterstrat; Laura McMullen; Ali Helmig; Elizabeth Torrey; Bruce Hansen; Kris Schidel; Michael Stevenson; Anna Chase; Hope Rieden


  • During our last call, we discussed continued planning for the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society’s biennial meeting to be held in Portland, OR in April 2021. Since that discussion, FMCS has transitioned to a virtual meeting for 2021. Portland will host the 2023 meeting.
    • Patty mentioned: we can circulate updates on that meeting (abstract submission and registration)
    • Rob asked about discounted rates for workgroup members. Emilie said that at this time we won’t have that in place, but it is a future possibility.
    • Teal can update the webpage to reflect these changes.
  • Thanks to everyone who shared thoughts on potential webinar topics from the PNW as part of the USFWS webinar series (click this link for more information). A webinar on eDNA tools and western freshwater mussels is tentatively on October 27 at 11:00 Pacific Time, presented by Torrey Rodgers of Utah State University (and recent author of this article) and Emilie. If you are involved in or aware of a western mussel eDNA project, we’d like to take a moment during the presentation to acknowledge the work being conducted, so please contact Emilie to have your project added to a list.
    • Al said they have been good so far and looking forward to it.
    • Patty asked if attendance is high. Al said, yes attendance has increased. It looks like there are often more than 100 attendees.
    • The presentations are posted to the NCTC website so you can view the ones you missed: https://nctc.fws.gov/topic/online-training/webinars/freshwater-mussel-conservation.html.
  • Alexa Maine’s request for restoration projects: Emilie mentioned this request again and asked folks to share information with her.
  • Gonidea angulata petition: Emilie gave a brief update on the submission of the petition and the timeline. The petition is now undergoing the 90-day review by USFWS.
  • Updates from workgroup members
    • Rob shared information on his long-term monitoring program (trend sites), including sharing that he has noted where they’ve found mussels, collected detailed information about habitat; conducted surber sampling but also surveyed habitat units (reach or riffle, pool). They do not collect mussels but do document size and species. They add 15 new (status) sites each year (Stilly and Snoho basins; other smaller basins in the county). They have also been looking at fish eDNA (mainly salmonids). Sarah Brown at WDFW (science division)- being able to offer eDNA analysis for fw mussels soon. They are looking at sites where they get positive hits to see if they see the species.
    • Teal mentioned that his office is moving from their current location and has been talking with Burke museum (new malacology dept and curator-Melissa Frey) about housing some of their mussel collection. Teal is working to help start a special PNW collection for shells. Rob said they have an existing collection and was wondering if there would need to be money associated with the submission of samples. Orma Smith museum in Idaho, where Bill Clark is the director. Anna said she was able to keep her collection housed there. That may be another option for the future.
    • Al asked about Tualatin surveys by Emilie. She mentioned Chicken Creek and Gales Creek, where mussels have been surveyed for and have been or will be relocated in advance of restoration projects.
    • RD Nelle shared information on USFWS work upstream of Yakima river on east side. They have been developing a strategy—they’ve done bull trout and lamprey eDNA and hope to use those samples to look for mussel presence; Marcie is going to work with them to piggy back this project from existing samples. Mussels have been found by crew members in the field. Next spring they are hoping to start some more surveys.
    • PNW SFS meeting—Rob Plotnikoff (Nov 18 and 19) virtual meeting
      • great plenary session, will be running a 9-2 meeting with a lunch break
      • platform will be Zoom, will have a yearlong subscription
      • several mussel talks
    • Emilie mentioned doing mussel surveys this year in the Coquille, Chehalis, John Day, and Crooked basins.
    • Kris noted seeing mussels in the Willapa River this summer.


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