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The Northern Riffleshell, like other sedentary filter feeders, are highly vulnerable to any changes in the water quality. They are very rare and listed as federally endangered. The building of dams, levies, channels, and dredging activities have severely degraded the habitats of many species in West Virginia. These human practices can increase silting, thereby smothering the mussels, destroying their food sources, or harming the host fish they need for dispersal. Northern Riffleshells range from the Ohio River and Great Lakes basins, through Michigan and Ontario down into West Virginia and west to Illinois. In some states mussels are still collected for their role in culturing pearls, but it is illegal to possess them in West Virginia.

For more detailed information visit: www.wvdnr.gov.