Mussel Technical Section


Chair - Scott Gritters, IADNR

No other group of animals in North America 
is in such grave danger of extinction!


Freshwater Mussels

More Opportunities for Mussel Sampling (2018) 
Contact Scott Gritters - 563-872-4976

    Dan Kelner - 651-290-5277

    Joe Jordan - 309-794-5791

For a free copy of this mussel ID book

contact Heidi Keuler.


Check out


Freshwater Mussels of the Upper Mississippi River System (USFWS)

For information on:

species identification and location, threatened & endangered mussels, life history, ecology, harvest, current threats, conservation activities, ongoing studies & projects, multimedia, teacher resources, frequently asked questions, glossary, references & links to other mussel sites


Did You Know?


Historically, 51 species of freshwater mussels lived in the Upper Mississippi River System.

Today, 44 species have been found in mussel surveys conducted in the past 35 years in the Upper Mississippi or Illinois Rivers. 

In North America, it is estimated that 43% of the 300 species of freshwater mussels are in danger of extinction. 

Further, the current extinction rate (percent loss per decade) for freshwater mussels is 1.2% and is estimated to be 6.4% in the future. 

These rates fall within the range of estimates for tropical rainforest communities (1-8% loss per decade). 


Historically, the Midwest boasted the most diverse collection of mussels in the world. 

But today, the States of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio list more than half of their 78 known mussel species as endangered, threatened, or requiring special concern.


Photos of Mussel Conservation Activities

USFWS Photos


Juvenile Mussels after Propagation

USFWS and IA DNR Work Together on Mussel Conservation