ECT ecologist discovers endangered clubshell mussel after 17 years

ECT Senior Associate Scientist Nathan Ring found a living, endangered mussel species, clubshell (Pleurobema clava), this fall in Big Darby Creek, an 84-mile scenic river located west of Columbus, Ohio. Nathan made the unexpected discovery while conducting a mussel survey during an Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) workshop field day.

This is the first documented observation of the species in Big Darby Creek since 2006. This small-to-medium-sized freshwater mussel has been listed as federally endangered since 1993.

“I picked it up and clubshell wasn’t the first species my mind went to since it is so rare – it looked like another common species. But the shape didn’t seem right. So, I pulled everyone together to help verify that it was in fact a living clubshell,” Nate explained.

“Big Darby Creek is a gem so this is a great find; happy to see it was discovered by one of our newly minted mussel surveyors,” said John Navarro, Aquatic Stewardship Program Administrator, ODNR.

Nathan recently passed the Ohio Standardized Freshwater Mussel ID Test and is now certified to survey Unlisted, Group 1, and Group 3 streams in Ohio. 

Contact Nathan Ring to learn more about ECT’s mussel survey services.

A closeup of the clubshell (Pleurobema clava). Handled under the authority of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Nathan Ring (NR, Lansing) conducting a mussel survey for ECT.

About ECT
ECT provides environmental and sustainability consulting solutions to address the complex needs of industry, government, stakeholders, and communities nationwide. With professionals in more than 22 states, ECT specializes in natural resources, ecosystem restoration, remediation, water resource initiatives, and sustainability programs requiring cutting-edge technologies, effective permitting strategies, and responsive project management.

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