2024 Wildlife Newsletter-for Web

Access digital copies of guides and regulations publications from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Issue link: http://digital.outdoornebraska.gov/i/1513249

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2024 Newsletter from the Nebraska Wildlife Conservation Fund You can make the difference Remember our wildlife and the wild places that we want future generations to enjoy. Make sure to "check" for wildlife on line 46 of your state tax return. Look for the peregrine falcon symbol and donate all or a portion of your tax refund to the Wildlife Conservation Fund. You can also donate throughout the year by calling (402) 471-0641 or online at NebraskaWildlifeFund .com All donations are fully tax deductible. and WILD PLACES SAVING WILDLIFE A t one moment in time, there were thirty different species of freshwater mussels spread throughout rivers and creeks in Nebraska. Now, you'll be lucky to find half of those species alive and well. The decline in mussel populations can be credited to both environmental and human impacts. Mother Nature is unpredictable and always changing mussel habitat. A well flowing creek or river which houses an abundant population of mussels can shift channels or experience a drought at any moment to leave the mollusks high and dry. Besides a mussel's reliance on Mother Nature, humans must do their part in protecting these delicate animals. With the installation of low head dams cutting off host fish from brood mussels, and agricultural chemical run off, Nebraska mussels are at a severe disadvantage. What can be done to help mussels maintain a sustainable population? Biologists at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) have been reproducing and reintroducing native freshwater mussels back into Nebraska streams since 2016. Starting with the Plain Pocketbook (Lampsilis cardium) and Fatmucket (Lampsilis siliquoidea) then eventually expanding to the Black Sandshell (Liqumia recta), the NGPC staff has successfully propagated each mussel species. The mussels are artificially propagated by extracting the glochidia larvae from gravid females. The larva is placed on appropriate host fish for each species of mussel. The host fish are monitored inside the North Platte Fish Hatchery (NPFH) for a few days before being moved to cages outside in one of the hatchery's earthen ponds. The mussels will complete their larval stage in roughly two weeks then release from the host fish. Once releasing from the host fish, the juvenile mussels will continue to grow in the earthen pond for the next four months. In late September, our hatchery biologists drain the mussel pond so they can collect the mussels by crawling around the earthen pond and hand-picking mussels out of the Continued on page 2 Freshwater Mussel Conservation and Propagation By The Nebraska Mussel Team Brett Andersen with hatchery produced Plain Pocketbook mussels stocked in Medicine Creek south of North Platte. PHOTO BY CHASE HARTWIG

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