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The third edition of the "Freshwater mussels of the Upper Mississippi River" pocket guide was recently published.

Click here to download a PDF of this booklet. 

This booklet was funded in part by the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society, the Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee, and other agencies.


Freshwater Mollusks are important

North American streams, rivers, and lakes support the richest diversity of freshwater mollusks on the planet. Over 650 species of snails and 300 species of freshwater mussels have been described by scientists so far. While there are species associated with every type of aquatic habitat, the greatest diversity is found in flowing streams.

Our freshwater mollusks are not only a fascinating part of our natural heritage but have global significance. As a group, they serve vital functions in freshwater ecosystems and many species are commercially important. Their life history is amazing, and the behavior ranges from the simple to the bizarre and unbelievable.

Unfortunately, freshwater mollusks are the most imperiled group of animals in America, and many populations are disappearing at an alarming rate. This decline is telling us something because mollusks are good indicators of healthy ecosystems. What is happening to our nation’s freshwater systems? How does is affect people?

This website is dedicated to:

• informing the public about incredible life history of freshwater mollusks
• exploring the issues that have lead to this decline
• empowering citizens to care about this important part of our natural heritage