The status of freshwater mussels in Rhode Island
fish passage, history, pollution, Rhode Island, stocking
Journal or Book Title
Between 1980 and present, we inventoried freshwater mussel populations at 129 aquatic sites throughout Rhode Island. We found 8 native mussel species and documented the presence of Corbicula sp. (Asiatic clam). The Rhode Island mussel fauna has been degraded by a long history of damming and discharges into rivers. Significant lake populations have also been eliminated by basin reconfigurations, pollution, and urban development. Elliptio complanata is currently the most widespread and common Rhode Island species. Pyganodon cataracta and Alasmidonta undulata are also widespread but less common. Anodonta implicata and Pyganodon cataracta may be expanding because of increased fish passage and stocking. Lampsilis radiata, Ligumia nasuta, Margaritifera margaritifera, and Strophitus undulatus are rare or localized and should be considered high conservation priorities in Rhode Island.