Neosho Mucket Recovery Program Updates / NEOSHO MUCKET MUSSEL / All Endangered and Threatened Species / Endangered and Endangered Wildlife / Services / KDWP

The Neosho Mucket is a freshwater mussel species that historically inhabited large rivers and streams in the Verdigris and Neosho River watersheds of Kansas. The decline in the population in the state has been linked to several factors, including water pollution, habitat fragmentation due to dam and reservoir construction, and extensive harvesting of mussels for their shells. The species currently occurs in scattered portions of the Lower Neosho, Verdigris, Fall, and Spring Rivers. However, reductions in pollution through the Clean Water Act and Surface Mining Control Reclamation Act, combined with a cessation of mussel harvest, may provide an opportunity to reintroduce this species into habitats where it once occurred but is now isolated from other populations by dams. The first attempts to reintroduce Neosho Muckets occurred in 1999, when approximately 19,000 juvenile Neosho Muckets were released into the upper Fall River. Other young mussels were stocked at sites on the Verdigris and Cotton Rivers.

Today, there are consistent efforts to restore populations through the Kansas Aquatic Species Recovery Program. The first reintroduction of the species through the program occurred at a site on the Neosho River in the fall of 2023. Future releases are planned in both the Neosho and Verdigris River watersheds in an effort to restore this species and remove it from the Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act.