Survey Guidelines and Techniques Workshop

Henry Horton State Park - Duck River, Tennessee
August 8-11, 2022

FOR FULL PROGRAM : Click here (PDF Download)

Registration for the Workshop has been extended to July 15, for consistency with other deadlines. After July 15 and up to August 9 registration is on a space available basis.
After July 15, please contact Ryan Schwegman at to confirm a spot is available


The Survey Guidelines and Techniques Workshop, along the banks of the famous Duck River, has been designed to help everyone learn or improve their sampling and data interpretation techniques. Participants will be able to choose one of two paths during the Workshop: Survey Techniques and Advanced Topics. Both paths will consist of four sessions of 3 - 3.5 hours each. There also will be an evening poster session and a town hall style discussion.

Survey Techniques Path participants will be assigned to groups of no more than 20 people that will rotate through the following four sessions:
1. Field Sampling – participants will conduct semi-quantitative, quantitative, and qualitative sampling.
2. Classroom sampling exercise (Mussel battleship) – participants will use semi-quantitative sampling in a classroom simulation to delineate a mussel bed, then quantitative sampling to assess standard metrics with confidence intervals.
3. Finding and processing mussels – participants will learn techniques for mussel handling, identification, measuring, aging, and marking.
4. Habitat and survey design – participants will learn techniques for evaluating mussel habitat, identifying where to sample, and for designing a mussel survey.

  The learning objective for the Advanced Topics Path is for participants to develop an awareness of advanced methods that are applicable to assess and study freshwater mussel populations and communities. Participants will remain together in a symposium-style setting as speakers provide introductory overviews, case studies and demonstrations on the following topics:
1. Population and community assessment fundamentals – This session will include an overview of core techniques and data types that are needed to conduct a baseline status of populations and communities, population health and resilience, and assessments. Species status assessments (SSA) as used in endangered species decisions will be presented as a special case.
2. Estimation of change and trend – The session will include an overview of statistical inference of change and trend of an event either a disturbance or reintroduction/augmentation and case studies on impact assessment and trend detection.
3. Capture-recapture based methods –The session will include background on why estimation of detectability is important, relationship between distribution and habitat at multiple scales, vital rates (survival, movement, recruitment, lambda, and relationship between vital rates and habitat, and case studies illustrating occupancy sampling, modeling and tag-based sampling.
4. Emerging topics – The session will include introductory presentations to discuss new methods that have promise to solve persistent or emerging information needs, case studies, and panel discussions. Possible topics include use of eDNA to sample for native and AIS, estimation of ecosystem services, formal protocols for expert elicitation, and forecasting. Coverage of topics will depend on availability of expertise. If time allows, discussions will be scheduled for participants to describe survey or analysis issues they are facing to get advice and suggestions from other participants and instructors.

Meeting Registration

As with all things in our post-COVID world, the prices have increased. Early registration will begin on March 1st and will close on May 31st.

NOTE: for those individuals for which their employers will not pay for a field trip as part of the registration, but would like to pay for the field trip out of their own pocket, please email FMCS Treasurer Alan Christian at and at requesting separate invoice for the field trip. Please provide your name, mailing address, and contact email and phone number in this email request to the FMCS Treasurer.


(March 1– May 31)

(June 1 - July 15)*

Regular FMCS member



Regular non-member
Non-member rates include
a 1 yr FMCS membership



Student/Retiree FMCS member



Student/Retiree non-member
Non-member rates include
a 1 yr FMCS membership



*Late Registration after July  15 and before August 9 if space is available. After July 15 and up to August 9 registration is on a space available basis. After July 15, please contact Ryan Schwegman at to confirm a spot is available.


Schedule Overview

Monday August 8 - Arrival, Registration, Evening Mixer
Tuesday August 9 - Breakfast, Introduction with Dave Smith, Lunch, Lecture and Field Sessions, Poster Session & Mixer
Wednesday August 10  - Breakfast, Lecture and Field Sessions, Lunch, Lecture and Field Sessions, Dinner, State and Federal Survey Protocols Town Hall     
Thursday August 11  - Field Trip, Departure


Poster Session

The poster session will take place on the evening of Tuesday, August 9th. Poster presentations will not be limited in topic and can include a wide variety of information and research pertinent to freshwater mollusks.
Abstracts should be emailed as a Word file to
File name should include presenter’s last name and initials (e.g., SchwegmanRS.doc). Acknowledgment of abstract receipt, if requested, will be provided by e-mail. The abstract should contain the title in BOLD, CAPITAL letters, followed by the author(s), and address(es). Underscore the presenter's name. Skip one line and begin the text including a clear summary of presentation (e.g., objectives, results, and conclusions.)
Please keep abstracts to 300 words or less : SEE EXAMPLE HERE.

The deadline for Poster Abstract submission has been extended to July 15th. Please follow the guidelines for abstract submission and email to


Student Sponsorship

We encourage student participation, and Sponsorships are still available. We will be soliciting for sponsorships to covering the cost of lodging for Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.
Apply HERE.
Students, please check the event web site for more information on how to apply, information will be updated as available. Deadline for receipt of applications is July 15.
Any student member of the Society who is enrolled as a full-time student at any college or university and is in good academic standing is eligible to apply. Specifically, each applicant must be a student member of the Society or have paid their student membership dues to the FMCS Treasurer prior to submitting their application.


Location & Lodging

Henry Horton State Park, constructed in the 1960s on the estate of Henry Horton, former governor of Tennessee, is located along the shores of the historic Duck River, one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. It is located in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, south of Nashville. Henry Horton State Park : The Park has self-contained accommodations, meals will be catered by the Park’s Governor's Table Restaurant, and the Tipped Canoe Lounge is on site.
All of the available rooms have been reserved at the Lodge in the Park, and there are also eight cabins available. Please make every effort to book rooms with co-workers and friends as space is limited. When booking ask for the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society rate and provide our group number: 4549. Reservations must be made by July 10th.  

Room Rates:
• Two Double Beds Room in the Lodge: $86.40/night plus taxes
• King Room: $90.90/night plus taxes • Suite Room (pullout sofa and small kitchen): $99.90/night plus taxes
• Cabins (fully equipped 2-3 bedrooms): call for details on each cabin.

Campsites for both recreational vehicles and tents are available. Camping rates vary between $11-$35/night, not including taxes and fees. Campsite reservations can be made by visiting:

What to bring:
This is a hands-on Workshop, so come prepared to get in the water and get dirty. Bring a wetsuit if you have one, otherwise clothes and shoes if you don’t mind getting wet. Mask and snorkel are beneficial and any other field gear you typically use in the water, don’t forget the sun screen and camera. Dry clothes are required at all other times.



Ground Transportation by car: Henry Horton Park is located in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. By Air: Nashville International Airport is the closest airport, but other airports are available.
Driving distance from Nashville is approx. 50 miles (1 hour)
Driving distance from Chattanooga approx. 115 miles (2 hours)
Driving distance from Memphis approx. 220 miles (3.5 hours)


Field Trip

On Thursday August 11th, Workshop attendees will have the option of attending a Duck River mussel sampling field trip with Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. Due to our proximity to such tremendous freshwater mussel resources the fieldtrip will focus on freshwater mussels of the Duck River and a TWRA ongoing monitoring program.
The cost is $50 and will include roundtrip transportation and a box lunch.



The FMCS is a not-for profit society, dedicated to the advocacy and conservation science of freshwater mollusk resources. Our Workshop provide great opportunities to network and build relationships with conservation professional from state and federal governments, industry, universities, and conservation organization. The Society has a membership of over 500, of which about 150 generally attend the biennial Workshops, Instructors for the workshops are members of the Society and other leaders in Conservation. These professionals are constantly working to conserve freshwater mollusks and we need your help. We are requesting monetary sponsorships to help cover the costs of the Workshop facilities and student attendance.

To become a Sponsor click here
River >$2000 One Complimentary Registration, Logo on Website Registration Page.
Stream $1000 - $1999

One Registration Reduced by 25%, Logo Displayed at the Welcome Social, Logo on Website Registration Page.

Eddy $500 - $999 Logo on Website Registration Page.
Mussel $100 - $499 Recognition in the Workshop Program.



For more Information:
For further information about the Workshop content and specific curriculum please contact the Guidelines and Techniques Chairs:
Lisie Kitchel:

For more information of the venue, lodging, transportation, or sponsorship please contact:
Ryan Schwegman:

We look forward to seeing you in Tennessee!