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Compilation of information on occurrence and conservation status for the freshwater mussel fauna of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma

March 1, 2021

The purpose of this data series is to compile information on the occurrence and conservation status of the freshwater mussel fauna of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma and to map the distribution of a freshwater mussel assemblage for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management Rapid Ecoregional Assessment (REA) program. The six focal species in the freshwater mussel assemblage are Amblema plicata (threeridge), Fusconaia flava (Wabash pigtoe), Lampsilis cardium (plain pocketbook), Lampsilis teres (yellow sandshell), Pyganodon grandis (giant floater), and Uniomerus tetralasmus (pondhorn). The focal species were selected using the following criteria: (1) the species are regionally significant, (2) occurrence records are sufficient to map the distribution of the species by hydrologic subbasins, (3) the assemblage includes species representing a range of State-level conservation priorities, and (4) the species are not listed as federally endangered or threatened. In addition, the species represent a broad array of life history strategies and habitat associations.

A total of 61 native species of freshwater mussels have documented occurrences within at least 1 of the 3 States, including 6 species that appear to have been extirpated from all the States and 6 species that may have been extirpated from at least 1 State. Of the 61 species, 8 species (including 3 potentially extirpated species) are listed as federally threatened or endangered and an additional 5 species are ranked as imperiled or vulnerable across their range. Approximately 80 percent of the native species known to have occurred within the three-State area have a secure conservation status, in comparison to only 40 percent of all freshwater mussel species or subspecies occurring within the United States. The compiled records for the contemporary period (1970–2017) documented the occurrence of 24 extant species in Nebraska, 42 in Kansas, and 48 in Oklahoma.

The contemporary distributions of the six focal species were mapped by subbasins and the larger hydrologic subregions. Historical records (prior to 1962) were also mapped but were limited. Amblema plicata, Fusconaia flava, and Lampsilis cardium were present in approximately one-third of all subbasins and slightly more than half of the subregions, primarily along the eastern portion of the three-State area. Lampsilis teres and Uniomerus tetralasmus were more widespread, occurring in close to half of the subbasins and about three-quarters of the subregions. Pyganodon grandis was the most widespread, occurring in about three-quarters of the subbasins and almost all subregions. There were very few subbasins with historical occurrences that lacked contemporary occurrences. The broad-scale distribution maps for the freshwater mussel assemblage presented with this report are intended to contribute baseline information for regional assessments, such as the Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment. Despite the limitations of the available data, such baseline information can be useful for identifying data gaps, monitoring future trends, identifying conservation priorities, and providing the larger context for more detailed watershed- or catchment-level studies. ScienceBase data release files associated with this data series are available at (Fancher and Carr, 2021).

Publication Year 2021
Title Compilation of information on occurrence and conservation status for the freshwater mussel fauna of Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma
DOI 10.3133/ds1133
Authors Natasha B. Carr, Tammy S. Fancher
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 1133
Index ID ds1133
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Fort Collins Science Center