Colour photo of the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel

Photo: Shawn Staton, Fisheries and Oceans

The Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is a small-sized freshwater mussel that can reach 10 cm in length and can live up to 20 years. This species can be distinguished from other Ontario mussels by its yellow or yellowish- green, rounded shell that has numerous thin wavy green lines.

Protecting and recovering species at risk in Ontario

Species at risk recovery is a key part of protecting Ontario’s biodiversity. Biodiversity – the variety of life on Earth – provides us with clean air and water, food, fibre, medicine and other resources that we need to survive.

The Endangered Species Act, 2007 (ESA) is the Government of Ontario’s legislative commitment to protecting and recovering species at risk and their habitats. As soon as a species is listed as extirpated, endangered or threatened under the ESA, it is automatically protected from harm or harassment. Also, immediately upon listing, the habitats of endangered and threatened species are protected from damage or destruction.

Under the ESA, the Ministry of Natural Resources (the Ministry) must ensure that a recovery strategy is prepared for each species that is listed as endangered or threatened. A recovery strategy provides science-based advice to government on what is required to achieve recovery of a species.

Government response statements

Within nine months after a recovery strategy is prepared, the ESA requires the Ministry to publish a statement summarizing the government’s intended actions and priorities in response to the recovery strategy. The recovery strategy for the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel was completed on February 18, 2011.

The response statement is the government’s policy response to the scientific advice provided in the recovery strategy. In addition to the strategy, input on the response statement was requested from stakeholders, other jurisdictions, Aboriginal communities and members of the public. The statement reflects the best available traditional, local and scientific knowledge at this time and may be adapted if new information becomes available. In implementing the actions in the response statement, the ESA allows the Ministry to determine what is feasible, taking into account social and economic factors.

Moving forward to protect and recover Wavy-rayed Lampmussel

The Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is listed as an endangered species under the ESA, which protects both the mussel and its habitat. The ESA prohibits harm or harassment of the species and damage or destruction of its habitat without authorization. Such authorization would require that conditions established by the Ministry be met.

The Wavy-rayed Lampmussel is found only in the Grand, upper Thames, Maitland, and Ausable rivers and the St. Clair River delta in southwestern Ontario. Key threats to the species include poor water quality from pollution and siltation, the loss of habitat, and the presence of invasive species, such as the Zebra Mussel. As the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel requires host fishes for their reproductive cycle, threats to the host species must be considered in addition to the direct threats to the 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.

Protecting and recovering species at risk is a shared responsibility. No single agency or organization has the knowledge, authority or financial resources to protect and recover all of Ontario’s species at risk. Successful recovery requires inter-governmental co-operation and the involvement of many individuals, organizations and communities.

In developing the multi-species government response statement, the Ministry considered what actions are feasible for the government to lead directly and what actions are feasible for the government to support its conservation partners to undertake.

Government-led actions

To help protect and recover the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, the government will directly undertake the following actions:

  • Educate other agencies and authorities involved in planning and environmental assessment processes on the protection requirements under the ESA.
  • 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.
  • Encourage the submission of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel observation data to the Ministry’s central repository at the Natural Heritage Information Centre.
  • Undertake communications and outreach to increase public awareness of species at risk in Ontario.
  • Protect the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel and its habitat through the ESA. Develop and enforce a regulation identifying the specific habitat of the species.
  • Support conservation, agency, municipal and industry partners to undertake activities to protect and recover the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. Support will be provided through funding, agreements, permits (including conditions) and advisory services.
  • Establish and communicate annual priority actions for government support in order to encourage collaboration and reduce duplication of efforts.

Government-supported actions

The government endorses the following actions for the protection and recovery of the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel. Actions identified as "high" will be given priority consideration for funding or for authorizations under the ESA. The government will focus its support on these high-priority actions over the next five years.

Focus area: Research and monitoring

Objective: Address knowledge gaps related to the distribution, abundance, demographics and habitat use of existing Wavy-rayed Lampmussel populations and host fishes.


  1. (High) 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.
  2. (High) Determine the habitat requirements for all life stages.
  3. Confirm additional host fish species for the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel.
  4. Investigate the feasibility of augmenting existing populations of the species and of establishing actively managed refuge sites to minimize the impacts of invasive mussels.

Focus area: Threat management

Objective: Identify threats to the species, evaluate their relative importance and implement remedial actions to minimize their impacts


  1. (High) Encourage development and use of Environmental Farm Plans and Nutrient Management Plans to incorporate best management practices (BMPs) for rural streams and drains. These BMPs 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.
  2. Work with landowners, drainage supervisors, engineers and contractors to limit the effects of drainage activities on Wavy-rayed Lampmussel habitat.
  3. Identify and evaluate threats to all life stages to inform protection and recovery actions.

Focus area: Awareness and stewardship

Objective: Increase public awareness about the distribution, threats and stewardship opportunities related to Wavy-rayed Lampmussel.


  1. Develop materials and programs to increase public awareness of Wavy-rayed Lampmussel, the potential impacts of invasive species and stewardship options.
  2. Work with existing ecosystem recovery efforts to implement recovery actions on a watershed basis.
  3. Promote and enhance expertise in freshwater mussel identification and biology.

Implementing actions

Financial support for the implementation of actions may be available through the Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program, Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program or Conservation Lands Tax Incentive Program. Conservation partners are encouraged to discuss project proposals related to the actions in this response statement with the Ministry. The Ministry can also advise if any authorizations under the ESA may be required to undertake the project.

Implementation of the actions may be subject to changing priorities across the multitude of species at risk, available resources and the capacity of partners to undertake recovery activities. Where appropriate, the implementation of actions for multiple species will be co-ordinated across government response statements.

Reviewing progress

The ESA requires the Ministry to conduct a review of progress towards protecting and recovering a species not later than five years from the publication of this response statement. The review will help identify if adjustments are needed to achieve the protection and recovery of the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel.


We would like to thank all those who participated in the development of the "Recovery Strategy for the Wavy-rayed Lampmussel" for their dedication to protecting and recovering species at risk.

For additional information:

For additional information:
Visit the species at risk website at
Contact your MNRF district office
Contact the Natural Resources Information Support Centre
Telephone: 1-800-667-1940
TTY: 1-866-686-6072