Conservation Matters July 2013

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Mussel identification and sampling workshop Aug. 20–23 in Junction

Mussel identification and sampling workshop Aug. 20–23 in Junction

Freshwater mussels in Texas face a variety of environmental issues and are increasingly at-risk, according to Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resources (IRNR) experts. To help equip researchers, students and professionals involved with mussel work in the state, IRNR will host the Texas Freshwater Mussel Identification and Sampling Workshop Aug. 20–23 at the Llano River Field Station in Junction.

Freshwater mussels are one of the most imperiled groups of animals in the world, said Dr. Charles Randklev, IRNR research scientist.

“More than 50 mussel species have been documented here in Texas, and 15 species are listed as state-threatened, due to habitat loss,” Randklev said. “Five of those were recently added to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service candidate species list, and six others are currently being reviewed for possible listing under the Endangered Species Act.”

Due to these listings, mussels are now being incorporated into biological assessment surveys and research programs throughout the state, increasing the need for trainings such as this program, he said.

The workshop will cover methods for identifying and sampling mussel species in Texas, as well as mussel ecology, conservation status and management, said Julie Groce, IRNR senior research associate.

Sponsored by IRNR and the Texas Comptroller’s Interagency Taskforce on Economic Growth and Endangered Species, the workshop will feature presentations by state mussel experts, hand-on activities and viewing of museum specimens. Participants will have the opportunity to use skills learned at the workshop during a field excursion to the San Saba and Concho Rivers, Groce said.

Attendees can check-in at 5 p.m. on Aug. 19. The first three days of the program will begin at 8 a.m. and wrap up around 5:30 p.m. The final day will begin at 9 a.m. and conclude at 12:30 p.m. A registration fee of $400 includes workshop materials, transportation to and from field sites, refreshments, meals, and lodging at the Field Research Station. Registration deadline is Aug. 9.

For more details on the workshop, see the course flyer and registration form. For questions about the workshop, contact Randklev at crandklev@ag.tamu.edu or 817.966.3235. For questions about the Llano River Field Station facilities, contact Dr. Tom Arsuffi, Llano River Field Station director, at tom.arsuffi@ttu.edu or 325.446.2301 (x235).

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