The status of freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionoidea) has declined over the last 30 years such that they are one of the most imperiled taxonomic groups in North America. Mussel populations in Kansas have followed a similar trend of decline. To better understand the status of mussels in the state, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks has established a monitoring program in which 10 river basins containing “high priority” mussel communities will be surveyed every six years. We surveyed mussels on three rivers in eastern Kansas during the summers of 2003 and 2004: Marais des Cygnes River, Fall River, and Grouse Creek. To achieve quantifiable, repeatable survey data, 40 1-m2 randomly selected quadrats were searched for mussels at each site. Using 1,010 quadrats, we sampled 26 sites among the three rivers and encountered 4,522 mussels (density = 4.5 mussels per m2) and 25 species. We also conducted timed searches at each site to better understand community structure and to increase the probability of locating rare species that might not be encountered in the quadrat survey. In 28 timed searches, we collected 2,522 mussels (CPUE = 42.3 mussels per person-hour) comprising 25 species.
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Vol. 111 • No. 1