This chapter provides a review of progress toward protection and recovery of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel in Ontario from 2007 to 2015.
Wavy-rayed Lampmussel (Lampsilis fasciola) is a small to medium-sized mussel that can grow up to 10 centimetres in length and can live up to 20 years. Wavy-rayed Lampmussel has a yellow or yellowish-green rounded shell with numerous interrupted, wavy green lines that can be thin or wide.
In Canada, the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is found only in Ontario, specifically in the Grand, Upper Thames, Maitland, and Ausable rivers and the St. Clair River delta. In Ontario, Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is generally found in gravel or sandy bottoms of shallow riffle-areas within clean, medium-sized streams.
Wavy-rayed Lampmussel faces several threats to its survival and recovery. The two most significant threats are suspended sediments and invasive Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha). Water with large amounts of suspended sediment can clog the gills of the mussels, which may cause suffocation and interfere with feeding and reproduction. Zebra Mussel is an invasive mussel species which attaches to the shells of native mussels and inhibits their feeding, respiration, excretion and movement. Contaminants and excess nutrients in waters where Wavy-rayed Lampmussels exist are also threats to the species.
The survival and recovery of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is influenced by other factors as well. For example, Wavy-rayed Lampmussel reproduction relies on the presence and abundance of its host fish species. Larval mussels (glochidia) live on the gills of a host fish where they receive nourishment for the first part of their lives. Another limiting factor for mussels is their limited mobility, which makes them highly vulnerable to habitat degradation in their immediate vicinity.
Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is listed as threatened at the provincial level (Species at Risk in Ontario List) and special concern at the federal level (Schedule 1 under the Species at Risk Act). Globally, it is considered to be secure.
Prior to the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (
Species and habitat protection
Protecting Wavy-rayed Lampmussel and its habitat are key components in the implementation of the ESA, and continue to be government-led actions, as identified in the government response statement. As an endangered species, Wavy-rayed Lampmussel has been protected from being killed, harmed, harassed, captured or taken under the ESA since it came into force in 2008. The habitat of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel has been protected from being damaged or destroyed since 2010. Habitat protection was initially based on the general habitat definition in the ESA. The habitat of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is now protected through a habitat regulation that came into force in 2015.
The government posted the habitat regulation (Ontario Regulation 242/08, section 29.3) for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel on December 1, 2014. During development of the habitat regulation, additional time was required to give priority to the preparation of habitat regulations for other species and to facilitate strategic grouping of species based on taxonomy and habitat requirements. A notice was posted on the Environmental Registry to notify the public about the need for additional time. The habitat regulation provides clarity to the public and others on what areas are protected as Wavy-rayed Lampmussel habitat. The regulated habitat includes areas that are required by the species to carry out its life processes within its range in Ontario. The habitat regulation was developed based on information regarding the habitat needs of the species as well as social and economic factors, collected from a variety of sources including comments received through public consultation.
Any person who negatively impacts Wavy-rayed Lampmussel or its habitat without prior authorization may be prosecuted under the ESA.
Wavy-rayed Lampmussel has been protected from being killed, harmed, harassed, captured or taken since 2008.
In addition, the habitat of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel has been protected from being damaged or destroyed since 2010. Habitat protection was initially based on the general habitat definition in the ESA. The habitat of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is now protected through a habitat regulation that came into force in 2015.
A recovery strategy for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel was published on February 18, 2011, which was in advance of the date required by the ESA. Recovery strategies are advice to government and represent the best available scientific knowledge. The strategy identified Wavy-rayed Lampmussel habitat needs and the threats that it faces, while recommending objectives and approaches for protecting and recovering the species. The recovery strategy also included recommendations on the areas of habitat to be considered in the development of a habitat regulation.
Government response statement
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (“the Ministry”) published the government response statement (GRS) for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel on November 18, 2011, which was within the timeframe required by the ESA. The GRS is government policy that contains the Government of Ontario’s goal for the recovery of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel.
To help achieve this goal, the government leads and supports recovery actions identified in the GRS. Common actions for the government to lead as it works toward achieving a species’ recovery goal are provided in section 2.5 of the Species at Risk Program Status (2008–2015). One specific action for the government to lead to help protect and recover Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is:
- Encourage other agencies to ensure that wastewater treatment plants and stormwater management facilities are functioning effectively to maintain or improve water quality in the habitat of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel
The GRS for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel also lists 10 actions the Ministry supports others to undertake for the species. These government-supported actions fall under the objectives identified in the GRS, which are:
- Address knowledge gaps related to the distribution, abundance, demographics and habitat use of existing Wavy-rayed Lampmussel populations and host fishes;
- Identify threats to the species, evaluate their relative importance and implement remedial actions to minimize their impacts; and
- Increase public awareness about the distribution, threats and stewardship opportunities related to Wavy-rayed Lampmussel.
The government’s goal for the recovery of the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is to protect populations of the species and to improve the habitat where they occur. The government supports investigating the feasibility of augmenting existing populations.
2004 Listed as Endangered
2008 Species Protected
2010 Listed as Threatened
2010 Habitat Protected
through the general habitat definition under the ESA in 2010 and then a habitat regulation in 2015
2011 Recovery Strategy finalized
2011 Government Response Statement finalized
2016 5 Year Review finalized
Government funded projects
An important government-led action in the GRS for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is to support partners to undertake activities to protect and recover the species. Through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund the Ministry has supported a total of 19 projects ($847,783) designed to contribute to the protection and recovery of multiple species at risk, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel and other species at risk mussels that occupy the same habitats. Partners reported that they were successful in securing additional funding ($1,557,726) from other sources. This amount includes additional funding and in-kind support in the form of time and expertise provided by volunteers.
Stewardship partners reported that provincial funding helped them to secure in-kind support by involving 442 individuals who volunteered 6,053 hours of their time toward protection and recovery activities for multiple species at risk, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, which has an estimated value of $120,890. The stewardship partners reported that through their efforts and the efforts of their volunteers to implement actions contained in the GRS, they were successful in enhancing 101 hectares of habitat expected to benefit multiple species at risk, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. In addition, the partners reported providing outreach on multiple species at risk, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, to 66,405 individuals.
The Ministry also supports proponents in conducting research that addresses important knowledge gaps for species at risk. Through the Species at Risk Research Fund for Ontario, the Ministry provided funding to a total of four projects in the form of two two-year agreements. These projects conducted research on the threat of increased suspended sediments, identifying food sources of juvenile and adult species at risk mussels, and determining critical habitat for propagated juvenile species at risk mussels. Each of these research projects targeted Wavy-rayed Lampmussel and other species at risk mussels.
The following paragraphs highlight four projects that were supported through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund and the Species at Risk Research Fund and their corresponding government-supported recovery actions.
Researchers working with Dr. Joanna Freeland at Trent University developed a method for inferring the presence of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel and other freshwater mussel species using environmental DNA (eDNA) extracted from lake or river water samples. Identifying the locations of species at risk mussels is important to their protection and recovery, but can be challenging for various reasons (e.g., restricted access, poor visibility, difficulty in locating mussels burrowed in the substrate, and the scattered distributions of populations). The eDNA method has several advantages over traditional sampling methods, including the ability to infer species presence without handling individuals and causing disturbance to sediments. The researchers successfully identified species-specific markers for eight species at risk mussels, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, which will be used in further testing of eDNA protocols and mapping habitat occupancy of these species. This project has expanded the methods available to conduct monitoring of the species and has addressed knowledge gaps related to the distribution and abundance of the species. In doing so, this project has supported the high priority GRS action to implement a monitoring program using the established network of permanent monitoring stations to track changes in the distribution and abundance of the species and their host fishes, habitat use and the presence of invasive mussel species.
In another Species at Risk Stewardship Fund project, the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority conducted an intensive mussel inventory at a location in Nairn Creek (a tributary of the Ausable River), to investigate the presence and abundance of species at risk mussels and to establish a long term index monitoring site. Prior to this inventory there were no index stations on Nairn Creek to evaluate recovery efforts. Wavy-rayed Lampmussel was one of the mussel species found during this inventory. This project also included a series of educational outreach sessions for watershed residents to raise awareness of species at risk in the Ausable River watershed and encourage individuals to undertake beneficial stewardship actions to improve habitat. This project supported the high-priority GRS action to track changes in data about the distribution and abundance of the species using the network of permanent monitoring stations. By developing educational materials and programs for watershed residents and sharing information on freshwater mussel identification and biology, this project has supported the following GRS actions: develop materials and programs to increase public awareness of these mussels, the potential impacts of invasive species and stewardship options; and promote and enhance expertise in freshwater-mussel identification and biology.
Researchers working with Dr. Josef Ackerman at the University of Guelph studied Wavy-rayed Lampmussel and three other species at risk mussels in two projects funded by the Species at Risk Research Fund for Ontario. One project focused on the effect of increased suspended sediments (also referred to as increased turbidity) on the ability of freshwater mussels to suspension feed. Wavy-rayed Lampmussels are suspension feeders, meaning that they feed by filtering suspended food particles from the water with their gills. Food and nutrients are transported from the gills to the mouth, and non-food particles are expelled. When suspended sediment levels are high, nutritious food that collects on the gill surface can be expelled along with the sediment particles, rather than ingested. The researchers found that high turbidity interferes with the function of the gills and reduces the clearance rates (the ability of the mussels to remove material from the water) of juvenile and adult mussels. However, the effect on clearance rates differed for different sized particles. Further study is required on the effect of different particle sizes and how increased suspended sediments may affect mussels differently depending on the feeding technique of their life stage. For example, the researchers noted that the impacts may be different for young juveniles that pedal feed using filaments on the foot to transport food and nutrients to the gills versus older juveniles and adults that suspension feed. This project supported the high-priority GRS action to determine the habitat requirements for all life stages of the species as well as the GRS action to identify and evaluate threats to all life stages to inform protection and recovery actions, particularly the threat of suspended sediment and how it affects the species’ ability to feed.
The second project, also conducted by Dr. Ackerman and his team at the University of Guelph, studied the clearance rates and selective feeding abilities of juvenile and adult species at risk mussels, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, using water from their native rivers under various flow conditions. Findings indicated that juvenile Wavy-rayed Lampmussel are able to clear more material from the water column at higher flow conditions, and that this ability increased with mussel size and age. Improved knowledge of how flow conditions affect feeding behaviour may lead to reduced mortality rates among captive-bred juvenile mussels, improvements in habitat rehabilitation and recovery techniques, and improved outcomes for relocated mussels. This project supported the high-priority GRS action to determine the habitat requirements for all life stages of the species. In addition, by determining the most suitable habitat conditions for juvenile and adult mussels of these species, this research has helped determine the best habitat conditions for artificially growing these mussels. Understanding how to artificially grow a species and what habitat characteristics it requires in its natural habitat are two important considerations for determining the feasibility of augmenting a population. Data generated through this research would also support the establishment of actively managed refuge sites as well as establishing guidelines for protecting existing habitats. Therefore, this research contributes to the action of investigating the feasibility of augmenting the existing populations and of establishing actively managed refuge sites to minimize the impacts of invasive mussels. This project also supported the GRS action to identify and evaluate threats to all life stages to inform protection and recovery actions, particularly through the advanced knowledge that has been generated about how suspended sediment affects the species’ ability to feed.
In 2015, scientists in the Aquatic Research Section of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Northern Appalachian Research Laboratory at the United States Geological Survey Leetown Science Centre in Pennsylvania and the Institute for Great Lakes Research at Central Michigan University published research on the patterns of genetic structure and diversity in six species of freshwater mussels in southwestern Ontario, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, Kidneyshell and Snuffbox (Galbraith, H.S. et al., 2015). The purpose was to determine whether these species exhibit similar patterns of genetic variation in spatial structure and diversity, whether the patterns reveal information about causes of species’ decline, and whether these species’ patterns of genetic variation are similar to those of mussel species that are not at risk. The results provide the spatial scale data necessary to inform mussel recovery activities such as translocation and augmentation. Researchers found that individual watersheds are the appropriate spatial scale for genetic management of freshwater mussel populations in southwestern Ontario for the three species at risk mussels and the three common mussel species. This means that, in some circumstances, relocation of mussels to suitable habitat within the same river may be a feasible recovery action, but that moving mussels between rivers where the same species is present may have an adverse effect on the species’ genetic structure. Studies in this area of research are ongoing.
The chapter on the Progress Toward the Protection and Recovery of Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox, Round Pigtoe, Salamander Mussel, and Rayed Bean provides additional detail on the research on Wavy-rayed Lampmussel and other species at risk mussels that has been conducted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. This includes research on the effectiveness of widely-used survey and monitoring practices, the diversity of mussels at Rondeau Bay in Lake Erie, and whether translocation of mussels will affect genetic structure. GRS actions that have been implemented through research activities include confirmation of host fish species and investigation of the feasibility of augmenting existing populations of the species and establishing actively managed refuge sites to minimize the impacts of invasive mussels.
Ontario’s Invasive Species Act
The GRS for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel indicates that invasive species pose a threat to the survival and recovery of the species in Ontario. The provincial Invasive Species Act, 2015 came into force on November 3, 2016 and provides an enabling framework to support the prevention, detection and control of invasive species in Ontario. This framework may support actions to reduce the threats of invasive species on native and at-risk species, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel.
Raising mussels at MNRF fish culture stations
In 2012, the MNRF Fish Culture Section initiated work to artificially raise species at risk mussels. By 2015, Kidneyshell, Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox and Wavy-rayed Lampmussel were being raised at two MNRF fish culture stations. The Section has developed significant expertise in how to artificially raise mussels. Since 2012, the Section has seen striking improvements in the number of larval mussels (glochidia) that latch onto the gills of the host fish and the number of healthy juvenile mussels that successfully drop off the host fish (i.e., the infestation and drop off rates); according to experts, the infestation rates achieved in 2015 were almost at the expected rate. The research has also seen improved survival and growth of the juvenile mussels and continues to overcome new challenges as they reach new stages in the development of the mussels. This project remains ongoing. Fish Culture Section continues to work with experts in Canada and the United Stated to improve their practices and outcomes. Determining the feasibility of raising mussel species at risk supports the GRS action to investigate the feasibility of augmenting existing populations of the species. Staff from the MNRF Aquatic Research and Monitoring Section have also contributed to this action by conducting research to understand the genetic diversity of mussel species at risk in Ontario, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. This work is helping to determine whether it may be feasible to augment the existing populations without disrupting the genetics of those populations.
Federal actions to protect and recover mussel species at risk in Ontario
MNRF works closely with the federal government to protect and recover species at risk in Ontario. The collaboration is particularly strong when it comes to aquatic species. As a result, several federal agencies have done work that aligns with actions identified in the GRS for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. The following paragraphs describe some of this work and the GRS actions supported by it.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has led two recovery teams to develop ecosystem-based action plans for aquatic species at risk in the Ausable and Sydenham River watersheds. These teams include members from the Government of Ontario, conservation authorities, stewardship councils and universities. Both action plans are designed to benefit all fish and mussel species at risk in the watersheds, as well as other species that may benefit from restoration and protection of the watersheds. These plans each include over 20 measures to support the recovery of target aquatic species at risk. Measures include extensive stewardship projects, management actions, community awareness and outreach activities as well as research and monitoring. These recovery efforts have been underway for over a decade and remain on-going with support from the federal Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk. These efforts support the GRS action to work with existing ecosystem recovery efforts to implement recovery actions on a watershed basis.
DFO has completed several actions to promote and enhance expertise in freshwater mussel identification and biology. Each year, DFO runs a freshwater mussel identification course in Ontario. The course has trained hundreds of individuals over the past decade. In addition, DFO has developed and funded the development of tools to help identify, sample and relocate mussel species at risk. These tools include a guidance document that outlines protocols and methods for sampling and relocating mussel species and a freshwater mussel identification app for smartphones that is now available for free download on iTunes.
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has played a significant role in identifying and evaluating threats to mussels at their various life stages. This research is important for designing effective protection and recovery actions. ECCC has conducted studies with a range of mussel species, including some species at risk, and has examined the impact of municipal wastewater effluent and road runoff, including road salt, on wild and caged mussels. The studies found that municipal wastewater effluent and urban runoff can negatively affect mussel immune systems and damage their gill cells (Gillis 2012; Gillis et al. 2014a, 2014b). In addition, laboratory toxicity studies have revealed that the chloride levels in some important mussel habitats in southern Ontario can reach levels that are toxic to mussel larvae (i.e., glochidia)(Gillis 2011). The results of the road salt study were provided to the Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment and contributed to the development of the Chloride Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life (CCME 2011). In a recent study ECCC found that chemicals in pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), which are released into the environment by municipal wastewater treatment plants, can build up in mussel tissues (de Solla et al. 2016). This study detected 43 PPCPs from many pharmaceutical classes in the mussels’ tissue, including anti-bacterial agents, antibiotics, antihistamines and progestins. Research is ongoing to determine the significance of this finding and whether the accumulated PPCPs pose a threat to mussels.
Stormwater and wastewater management — protecting mussel habitat in Ontario
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) delivered on the government-led action to encourage other agencies to ensure that wastewater treatment plants and stormwater management facilities are functioning effectively to maintain or improve water quality in the habitat of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel through implementation of the Protocol for Conducting a Storm Water Control Study; the Protocol for the Sampling and Analysis of Industrial/Municipal Wastewater, Version 2.0 and the Policy Review of Municipal Stormwater Management in the Light of Climate Change. The review included policies, acts, or regulations within MOECC’s mandate of environmental protection, such as the Ontario Water Resources Act and the 2003 Stormwater Management Planning and Design Manual, as well as non-regulatory best practices for stormwater management. A multi-agency Stormwater Management Working Group contributed extensively to the review.
MOECC provided funding support for research projects by Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) on stormwater pond discharge temperature control and infiltration methods, which informed the CVC and TRCA Low Impact Development Stormwater Management Planning and Design Guide (2010) for municipalities and developers. MOECC also worked with the Canadian Standards Association on a training course for sustainable stormwater management and designing road and parking lot infiltration systems.
MOECC also launched a program called Showcasing Water Innovation, which demonstrates leading edge, innovative and cost-effective solutions for managing drinking water, stormwater and wastewater systems in Ontario communities. In 2011, the province put out the call for funding applications. Thirty-two projects were chosen to receive funding and each project is now well under way. The projects are featured on the Government of Ontario’s website.
Species at Risk Stewardship Fund
for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel exclusively
for multi-species projects that included Wavy-rayed Lampmussel
in additional funding and support
projects included the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel
hectares of habitat restored
people received outreach
Efforts to minimize adverse effects on and create an overall benefit for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel
Supporting partners through permits and their associated conditions, is an important government-led action. A total of 18 permits have been issued for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel since the species has been protected under the ESA. Of these, there have been 13 ‘protection or recovery permits’ (i.e., 17(2)(b) permit) issued, including three that were issued exclusively for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. These permits are issued if the purpose of the activity is to assist the protection or recovery of a species at risk. These permits enabled a variety of organizations to undertake activities such as:
- Conducting inventories to monitor presence and abundance of mussels and their fish hosts;
- Performing research on:
- host fish identification and productivity (for mussel reproduction);
- habitat requirements of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel for all life stages (substrate type, ecological community, threats posed by invasive species (e.g., Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)); and
- early life stages, gravid periods and the feasibility of methods for mussel propagation and rearing;
- Delivering workshops to various audiences on Ontario’s freshwater mussels (covering such topics as species identification, weighing, measuring, sexing, and determining gravid status of females); and
- Establishing a glochidia reference of species at risk mussels.
Five ‘overall benefit permits’ (i.e., 17(2)(c) permit) were issued for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, including two that were issued exclusively for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel and three that included additional species. These permits related to the construction of bridges for highway widening and a new crossing, bridge pier repairs, and engineering works to stabilize an eroding bank. Further information regarding ‘overall benefit permits’ is available through Ontario’s Environmental Registry.
Several of the conditions attached to these two permit types are designed to implement government-led and government-supported actions identified in the GRS for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, including:
- Conducting inventories at permanent mussel population index monitoring stations;
- Reporting on data collected from all mussels encountered during the activity (e.g., size, sex, location, etc.);
- Researching additional host fish species, working to limit the effects of drainage activities on Wavy-rayed Lampmussel habitat; and
- Promoting enhanced expertise in freshwater mussel identification and biology.
Other conditions designed to minimize adverse effects included, but are not limited to:
- Ensuring all persons are trained in proper mussel handing procedures prior to conducting any activity authorized by the permit and that the guidance published by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Protocol for the Detection and Relocation of Freshwater Mussel Species at Risk in Ontario – Great Lakes Area) is followed;
- Releasing all wild-caught mussel individuals at the point of capture and within the threshold water temperature;
- Restoring any excavated substrate that was moved during the search for mussels; and
- Improving riparian buffers to provide increased filtration of runoff.
A total of 24 agreements were entered into for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. These agreements were enabled through Ontario Regulation 242/08 (prior to the July 1, 2013 amendment). Conditions of the agreements involve implementing actions in the mitigation plan, including, but not limited to:
- Determining if the activity will occur in a sensitive area for a mussel species and contacting the Ministry for direction prior to undertaking an activity in a sensitive area for a mussel species;
- Undertaking mitigation measures for sediment control, erosion control and bank stabilization; and
- Following established guidelines for specific activity types (e.g., bridge maintenance, culvert maintenance, temporary stream crossing, etc.).
Thirteen activities that may affect Wavy-rayed Lampmussel or its habitat have been registered for the purposes of Ontario Regulation 242/08 under the ESA. Six of these activities are registered under ‘Drainage works’ (section 23.9) and include improvements or maintenance to drainage works or ditches by municipalities. Three activities are registered under ‘Species protection, recovery activities’ (section 23.17) and include mussel survey and monitoring activities and habitat evaluation. The remainder are registered under ‘Possession for educational purposes, etc.’ (section 23.15), ‘Threats to health and safety, not imminent’ (section 23.18) and ‘Aquatic species’ (section 23.4), and include possession for purposes of education and species identification, pipeline maintenance, and the replacement of stormwater infrastructure. These registrations require the registered individual to comply with all conditions of the regulation, such as:
- Taking reasonable steps to minimize adverse effects of the activity on the species (e.g., establishing protective zones around habitat areas);
- Implementing the actions in a mitigation plan developed by an expert on the species (e.g., habitat protection or restoration actions); and
- Reviewing and updating the mitigation plan every five years to adjust mitigation actions as required.
Occurrences of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel in Ontario
Natural Heritage Information Centre (NHIC)
Since 2008, the Ministry has received approximately 415 records of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. These records are based on observations that were made between 1894 and 2016 and come from a variety of sources. Records submitted have helped to redefine where the species is known and has been known to occur and can provide additional information on the species’ habitat and threats. It is possible that there are observations of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel that have not been submitted to the Ministry. Encouraging the submission of observations of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel to the Ministry is included in the GRS as a government-led action.
Everyone is encouraged, or may be required by an authorization or approval, to submit observations of the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, as well as every other species at risk, to the Ministry’s Natural Heritage Information Centre for incorporation into the provincial record of observations.
415 Observations of this species were submitted to the NHIC since 2008
Summary of progress towards meeting the recovery goal
Summary of progress
Progress has been made toward all government-led actions and all government-supported actions outlined in the GRS for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. The Government of Ontario has directly undertaken actions to:
- Encourage submission of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel data to the Natural Heritage Information Centre;
- Protect the species through the ESA and its habitat through a habitat regulation;
- Support partners to undertake activities to protect and recover the species;
- Establish and communicate annual priority actions for support;
- Educate other agencies and planning authorities on the requirement to consider the protection of the species and its habitat; and
- Undertake communications and outreach to increase public awareness of species at risk in Ontario.
In addition to these government-led actions, the GRS for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel states that Ontario will encourage other agencies to ensure that wastewater treatment plants and stormwater management facilities are functioning effectively to maintain or improve water quality in the habitat of the species. For a description of the work completed for this action, please see the section entitled ‘Stormwater and Wastewater Management — Protecting Mussel Habitat in Ontario’.
Government-supported actions are organized under over-arching recovery objectives. Progress has been made toward all of the government-supported recovery objectives and all of the associated actions that are identified in the GRS for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel.
Under the objective to address knowledge gaps related to the distribution, abundance, demographics and habitat use of existing Wavy-rayed Lampmussel populations and host fishes, progress has been made toward each of the four actions:
- Implement a monitoring program using the established network of permanent monitoring stations to track changes in (a) the distribution and abundance of the species and their host fishes, (b) habitat use and (c) the presence of invasive mussel species (Action No. 1; High Priority);
- Determine the habitat requirements for all life stages (Action No. 2; High Priority);
- Confirm additional host fish species for the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel (Action No. 3); and
- Investigate the feasibility of augmenting existing populations of the species and of establishing actively managed refuge sites to minimize the impacts of invasive mussels (Action No. 4).
The first three actions have been implemented through several projects supported by the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund and conditions of authorizations. Two projects undertaken through the Species at Risk Research Fund for Ontario made progress toward the second and fourth actions. The MNRF Fish Culture Section has made progress toward the fourth action by determining how to artificially grow Wavy-rayed Lampmussel.
Under the objective to identify threats to the species, evaluate their relative importance and implement remedial actions to minimize their impacts, progress has been made toward all of the actions:
- Encourage development and use of Environmental Farm Plans and Nutrient Management Plans to incorporate best management practices for rural streams and drains. These best management practices should include restoring a healthy riparian zone, reducing livestock access, establishing manure storage and runoff collection systems, encouraging conservation tillage and improving faulty septic systems (Action No. 5; High Priority);
- Work with landowners, drainage supervisors, engineers and contractors to limit the effects of drainage activities on Wavy-rayed Lampmussel habitat (Action No. 6); and
- Identify and evaluate threats to all life stages to inform protection and recovery actions (Action No. 7).
The fifth action has been implemented through several Species at Risk Stewardship Fund projects; the sixth action has been implemented through conditions of overall benefit permits; and the seventh action has been implemented through a Species at Risk Research Fund for Ontario project and a protection and recovery permit.
Under the objective to increase public awareness about the distribution, threats, and stewardship opportunities related to Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, progress has been made toward all of the actions:
- Develop materials and programs to increase public awareness of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, the potential impacts of invasive species and stewardship options (Action No. 8);
- Work with existing ecosystem recovery efforts to implement recovery actions on a watershed basis (Action No. 9); and
- Promote and enhance expertise in freshwater mussel identification and biology (Action No. 10).
Projects funded through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund have supported each of these three actions, while protection and recovery and overall benefit permits have supported implementation of the eighth and tenth actions.
The recovery goal for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is to protect populations of the species, to improve the habitat where they occur and to investigate the feasibility of augmenting existing populations. Effort made toward the government-led and government-supported GRS actions has helped to make progress toward this goal. For example, quantitative surveys conducted in the Grand, Maitland and Thames rivers revealed that populations are larger than previously estimated and cataloging of size and age class distributions and sex ratios provided evidence that these populations are reproducing. Research conducted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Fisheries and Oceans Canada has also made significant advancements in determining the feasibility of augmenting existing populations of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. In addition, the provincial record of observations indicated that Wavy-rayed Lampmussel in Ontario is exhibiting trends that are consistent with the GRS recovery goal as all populations considered extant in 2008 remain extant.
As stated in the GRS, the review of progress toward protecting and recovering Wavy-rayed Lampmussel can be used to help identify whether adjustments are needed to achieve the protection and recovery of the species. Based on progress to-date, the overall direction provided in the GRS for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel should continue to guide protection and recovery actions for the species, particularly actions identified as high priority in the GRS. Relative to actions that have received a high level of support, the following actions have received support to a lesser degree and may be considered in future decisions regarding the protection and recovery of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel:
- Although progress has been made toward the following actions, further work is required to: implement a monitoring program using the established network of permanent monitoring stations to track changes in the distribution and abundance of the species and their host fishes, habitat use and the presence of invasive mussel species (Action No. 1; High Priority); encourage development and use of Environmental Farm Plans and Nutrient Management Plans to incorporate best management practices for rural streams and drains, including restoring a healthy riparian zone, reducing livestock access, establishing manure storage and runoff collection systems, encouraging conservation tillage and improving faulty septic systems (Action No. 5; High Priority); work with landowners, drainage supervisors, engineers and contractors to limit effects of drainage activities on Wavy-rayed Lampmussel habitat (Action No. 6); and work with existing ecosystem recovery efforts to implement recovery actions on a watershed basis (Action No. 9).
- According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s 2013 Report on the progress of recovery strategy implementation for the Wavyrayed Lampmussel, Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox, Round Pigtoe, Mudpuppy Mussel and Rayed Bean in Canada for the period 2006-2011, research indicates that the Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) serves as the primary host fish for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. Additional research is needed to confirm additional host fish species for the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel (Action No. 3).
- Actions that build on the work already completed regarding the feasibility of augmenting existing populations of the species and establishing actively managed refuge sites to minimize the impacts of invasive mussels should be supported to identify and inform subsequent steps related to this action (Action No. 4).
Moving forward, protecting and recovering Wavy-rayed Lampmussel will continue to be a shared responsibility that will require the involvement of many individuals, organizations and communities. Financial support for the implementation of actions may be available through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, Species at Risk Research Fund for Ontario or the Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program. The Ministry can also advise if any authorizations under the ESA or other legislation may be required to undertake a project. By working together, progress can continue to be made toward protecting and recovering Wavy-rayed Lampmussel in Ontario.
Summary of progress toward the protection and recovery of Wavey-rayed Lampmussel (2007 to 2015)
- Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is classified as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA. Prior to its transition to the ESA, Wavy-rayed Lampmussel was listed as endangered, but was not regulated under the previous Endangered Species Act. It was re-assessed as threatened, and its status was updated on the Species at Risk in Ontario List in 2010. The species has been protected from being killed, harmed, harassed, captured or taken under the ESA since it came into force in 2008, and its habitat has been protected from damage or destruction since 2010. In addition, in 2014, the government finalized a habitat regulation for the species.
Species-specific documents and guidance published by the government:
- Recovery Strategy for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel (2011)
- Wavy-rayed Lampmussel: Ontario Government Response Statement (2011)
- Wavy-rayed Lampmussel Habitat Regulation (s. 29.3 of Ontario Regulation 242/08; 2015)
Government-supported stewardship projects:
- Through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (“the Ministry”) has enabled its stewardship partners to conduct a total of 19 projects ($847,783) that have supported the protection and recovery of multiple species at risk, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel.
- The Ministry’s support helped its stewardship partners to involve 442 individuals who volunteered 6053 hours of their time toward protection and recovery activities for species at risk, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. The estimated value of these voluntary contributions, as well as additional funding and in-kind support, is $1,557,726.
- Stewardship partners reported that through their actions 101 hectares of habitat were enhanced for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel and other species at risk that inhabit the same ecosystem.
- Stewardship partners reported providing outreach on multiple species at risk, including Wavy-rayed Lampmussel to 66,405 individuals.
Supporting human activities while ensuring appropriate support for species recovery:
- The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has issued 18 permits for this species: 13 ‘protection or recovery’ permits were issued under clause 17(2)(b), and five ‘overall benefit permits’ were issued under clause 17(2)(c) of the ESA.
- A total of 24 agreements were entered into for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. These agreements were enabled through Ontario Regulation 242/08 (prior to the July 1, 2013 amendment).
- Thirteen activities have been registered for this species. The activities were registered under ‘Drainage works’ (section 23.9), ‘Species protection, recovery activities’ (section 23.17), ‘Possession for educational purposes, etc.’ (section 23.15), ‘Threats to health and safety, not imminent’ (section 23.18) and ‘Aquatic species’ (section 23.4) under Ontario Regulation 242/08 of the ESA.
Occurrences and distribution:
- There are 16 populations of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel that have been documented in Ontario. Currently, 14 of these populations are extant, whereas the remaining two are considered historical. All populations considered extant in 2008 remain extant, and recent quantitative surveys reveal that several populations are larger than previously estimated.
- Categorizing and Protecting Habitat under the Endangered Species Act
- Habitat Regulation Summary for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel
- Natural Heritage Information Centre
- Ontario’s Endangered Species Act
- Ontario’s Endangered Species Act Regulation 242/08
- Ontario Recovery Strategy and Government Response Statement for Wavy-rayed Lampmussel
- Policy Guidance on Harm and Harass under the Endangered Species Act
- Species at Risk in Ontario List
- Species at Risk Stewardship Fund
Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) 2011. Canadian water quality guidelines for the protection of aquatic life: chloride. Canadian Environmental Quality Guidelines, 1999 (and Updates). Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. Winnipeg.
COSEWIC. 2010. COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel Lampsilis fasciola in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. xi + 60 pp.
de Solla, S.R., É.A.M. Gilroy, J.S. Klinck, L.E. King, R. McInnis, J. Struger, S.M. Backus, and P.L. Gillis. 2016. Bioaccumulation of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the unionid mussel Lasmigona costata in a river receiving wastewater effluent. Chemosphere 146: 486-496.
DFO. 2013. Report on the progress of recovery strategy implementation for the Wavyrayed Lampmussel, Northern Riffleshell, Snuffbox, Round Pigtoe, Mudpuppy Mussel and Rayed Bean in Canada for the period 2006-2011. Species at Risk Act Recovery Strategy Report Series. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ottawa. iv + 34 pp.
Galbraith, H.S., D.T. Zanatta, and C.C. Wilson. 2015. Comparative analysis of riverscape genetic structure in rare, threatened and common freshwater mussels. Conservation Genetics 16: 845-857.
Gillis, P.L., F. Gagné, R. McInnis, T.M. Hooey, E.S. Choy, C. André, MD E. Hoque, and C.D. Metcalfe. 2014a. The impact of municipal wastewater effluent on field-deployed freshwater mussels in the Grand River (Ontario, Canada). Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 33: 134-143.
Gillis, P.L., S.K. Higgins, and M.B. Jorge. 2014b. Evidence of oxidative stress in wild freshwater mussels (Lasmigona costata) exposed to urban-derived contaminants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety 102: 62-69.
Gillis, P.L. 2012. Cumulative impacts of urban runoff and municipal wastewater effluents on wild freshwater mussels (Lasmigona costata). Science of the Total Environment 431: 348-356.
Gillis, P.L. 2011. Assessing the toxicity of sodium chloride to the glochidia of freshwater mussels: Implications for salinization of surface waters. Environmental Pollution 159: 1702-1708.
Morris, T. J. 2011. Recovery Strategy for the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel (Lampsilis fasciola) in Ontario. Ontario Recovery Strategy Series. Prepared for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, Ontario. ii + 4 pp. + Appendix viii + 41 pp. + Appendix.
- footnote Back to paragraph A population is defined as an element occurrence which represents an area of land and/or water on/in which an element (i.e., Wavy-rayed Lampmussel) is or was present. They are comprised of one or more observations and the area has a practical conservation value as it is important to the conservation of the species.
- footnote Back to paragraph A population is considered historical if it has not been recorded within the last 20 years. Historical populations may still exist, but updated information is not available.