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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center


Validation of a Mussel Community Assessment Tool for the Upper Mississippi River System

Dunn, H., S. Zigler, and T. Newton.  Validation of a Mussel Community Assessment Tool for the Upper Mississippi River System. A completion report submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program from the U.S. Geological Survey, 2014MCA2. 57pp.


The USACE’s Upper Mississippi River Restoration Program Long Term Resource Monitoring (LTRM) element was established in 1986.  Since then, the LTRM core monitoring effort has sampled select ecological components (e.g., fisheries, water quality, aquatic vegetation) from six river reaches that span the range of environmental gradients within the UMRS.  Given recent recognition of the ecological significance of mussel assemblages in the river, the LTRM has explored implementing monitoring for native mussels as a new component (LTRMP 2009).  The research reported here is the second step (Phase 2) in a larger project to develop an approach for assessing and monitoring mussels in the UMRS.    The larger project consists of four phases.  Phase 1 consisted of gathering data and exploring metrics to assess mussel assemblage health, Phase 2 consisted of conducting full analyses of selected metrics, Phase 3 consists of developing potential sampling and monitoring protocols for LTRM, and Phase 4 consists of field-­‐testing selected protocols.  Phases 1 and 2 are similar in concept to the index of biological integrity (IBI, and its analogues) that was developed for fish (e.g., Karr 1981) and macroinvertebrates (e.g., Blocksom and Johnson 2009).  The objective of Phase 1, which was completed in 2012 (Dunn et al. 2012), was to develop and test a mussel community assessment tool (MCAT) in the UMRS.  The goal of Phase 2, and the specific focus of this study, was to validate the assessment tool developed in Phase 1.  The objectives of Phase 2 were to (1) determine if the metrics developed in Phase 1 accurately captured the professional judgment of UMR mussel experts, and (2) evaluate temporal variation in mussel assemblage metrics at individual sites.


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