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Recovery Strategy For Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox, Round Pigtoe, Mudpuppy Mussel and Rayed Bean in Canada [Proposed]

b) Management Approaches
PriorityNoObjec tive Addre-ssedBroad Approach/ StrategySpecific StepsAnticipated EffectThreat Addressed
URGENT2-1i-viCapacity BuildingPromote and enhance expertise in freshwater mussel identification/biology and provide for the transfer of knowledge.Will ensure correct identification of mussel species at risk.All threats.
URGENT2-2v, viCooperation –  ecosystem recovery strategiesWork with existing ecosystem recovery teams to implement recovery actions.Ensure a seamless implementation of all recovery actions.All threats.
NECESSARY2-3vMunicipal PlanningEncourage municipal planning authorities to consider Recovery Goals in official plans.Will provide further protection for the Northern Riffleshell, Mudpuppy Mussel, Round Pigtoe, Snuffbox and Rayed Bean to ensure that future development does not degrade important habitat.Siltation and turbidity, nutrient loads, toxic compounds, thermal effects.
NECESSARY2-4vDrainageWork with drainage supervisors, engineers and contractors to limit the effects of drainage activities on mussel habitat.Will reduce the harmful effects of drainage activities.Siltation and turbidity, nutrient loads, toxic compounds, thermal effects.
NECESSARY2-5ii, iii, vFish Management PlansEncourage the development of management plans for non SAR fish species within watersheds inhabited by the Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox, Round Pigtoe, and Rayed Bean.Will provide protection for potential host species.Host fishes.
NECESSARY2-6vBaitfishWork with the baitfish industry to reduce the impacts of commercial baitfishing on host species.Will provide protection for potential host species.Host fishes, exotic species.
NECESSARY2-7vWastewater treatment plants and stormwater management facilitiesEvaluate whether wastewater treatment plants are functioning up to specifications and encourage upgrading where appropriate.  Review stormwater management facilities for quantity and quality control in new developments, and retro-fit existing development where possible.Will improve water quality by reducing nutrient and suspended solid inputs from urban centres.Siltation and turbidity, nutrient loads, toxic compounds.
NECESSARY2-8vEnforcementAssist federal and provincial enforcement officers in obtaining the necessary information and/or resources required to protect these species and their habitats.Will ensure that these 5 species and their habitats receive the necessary protection. All threats.

2-1: The current capacity within southwestern Ontario to perform the necessary survey and monitoring work is insufficient. Knowledge of freshwater mussel identification, distribution, life history and genetics is limited to a small number of individuals from a limited number of government and academic institutions. Furthermore, the retirement of several key researchers is expected prior to the 5-year re-evaluation period for this strategy. A concerted effort must be made to increase this capacity by:

  • Training personnel in the identification of all mussel species with emphasis on the rare species.
  • Producing a field guide to the mussels of Ontario.
  • Encourage graduate and post-graduate research aimed at fulfilling the needs identified under Research and Monitoring.

2-2:  Many of the threats to the Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox, Round Pigtoe, Mudpuppy Mussel and Rayed Bean can be classified as widespread and chronic (Table 1) and represent general ecosystem threats affecting numerous other aquatic species. Efforts to remediate these threats will benefit many species in addition to these five mussel species and should be attempted in close connection with the aquatic ecosystem recovery teams for the Ausable, Sydenham and Thames rivers (see section II.5, Activities already completed or underway) to eliminate duplication of efforts and ensure that undertaken activities are not detrimental to other species.   

2-5: The host fishes for these five mussel species must be afforded some degree of protection if the Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox, Round Pigtoe, Mudpuppy Mussel and Rayed Bean are to recover. The greenside darter, which functions as a host for the Rayed Bean, is listed as a species of special concern by COSEWIC. This species is given consideration in the aquatic ecosystem recovery strategies for the Sydenham River (Dextrase et al. 2003), Ausable River (ARRT 2005) and Thames River (TRRT 2004) and will therefore be actively monitored and managed within these systems. The remaining host species for the five mussel species including the bluegill, bluntnose minnow, brook stickleback, greenside darter, Iowa darter, Johnny darter, largemouth bass, logperch, mottled sculpin, northern redbelly dace, rainbow darter and spotfin shiner are not listed by COSEWIC and therefore not explicitly considered in any recovery plans. It may be necessary to develop formal management plans for these species to ensure that their populations remain healthy and do not hinder the recovery of the mussel species.

2-6: While the host species of the Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox, Round Pigtoe, Mudpuppy Mussel and Rayed Bean are not typically targeted as baitfish they are potentially collected as bycatch during legal bait harvesting activities. Effort should be made to minimize potential bycatch of these species and to ensure that gear selection and operation do not contribute to habitat degradation which may adversely affect host populations.