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      Mapping Rocky Mountain ridged mussel beds with preliminary identification of overlapping Eurasian watermilfoil within the Canadian range

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      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          The Rocky Mountain ridged mussel (Gonidea angulata) is a bivalve species whose Canadian range is limited to the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia. In 2019, conflicts between habitat protection for the mussel and potential habitat alteration to control the invasive Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) (milfoil), led to a decision to maintain the status of the mussels as Special Concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) rather than classify it as Endangered. Milfoil control can cause direct mortality and/or burial of the mussels, but there had been no systematic study of the impacts of milfoil control on mussel beds. The purpose of this study was to address knowledge gaps by delineating known mussel beds and potential overlap with milfoil to provide information for management decisions that balance the needs of native species protection and invasive species control. Rocky Mountain ridged mussels in three reference locations were enumerated using snorkel surveys. The presence and distribution of milfoil was documented in relation to five sites within these three locations. Milfoil was encroaching on one site, causing some changes to the substrate. At other sites, the differences in the depth and distribution of the mussel and the milfoil could allow milfoil control without damaging the mussel beds. It is recommended that, before milfoil removal near known mussel beds be undertaken, a detailed site evaluation be conducted to determine potential impacts. This study suggests presumed impediments to co-managing the mussels and controlling an invasive species should not preclude classifying the mussels as Endangered and affording protections under SARA.

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          Most cited references 9

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          Conservation Status of Freshwater Mussels of the United States and Canada

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            THE BIOLOGY OF CANADIAN WEEDS.: 34. Myriophyllum spicatum L.

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              Optimal approaches for balancing invasive species eradication and endangered species management.

              Resolving conflicting ecosystem management goals-such as maintaining fisheries while conserving marine species or harvesting timber while preserving habitat-is a widely recognized challenge. Even more challenging may be conflicts between two conservation goals that are typically considered complementary. Here, we model a case where eradication of an invasive plant, hybrid Spartina, threatens the recovery of an endangered bird that uses Spartina for nesting. Achieving both goals requires restoration of native Spartina. We show that the optimal management entails less intensive treatment over longer time scales to fit with the time scale of natural processes. In contrast, both eradication and restoration, when considered separately, would optimally proceed as fast as possible. Thus, managers should simultaneously consider multiple, potentially conflicting goals, which may require flexibility in the timing of expenditures.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                September 23 2020
                September 23 2020
                : 42
                : 19-31
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.42.51081
                © 2020

                http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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