2005 FMCS Symposium Field Trips

Lake Pepin: mussel propagation cage site visit (65 miles by car to beach site).

Join a carpool journey to the sandy shores of beautiful Lake Pepin, a natural riverine Mississippi lake, where we will visit the Lampsilis higginsii cage propagation site at Frontenac, MN.  Since 2000 the Mussel Conservation Team has been using this site to place fish inoculated with glochidia into wire-mesh cages with solid bottoms.  After about 30 days the fish are released and the excysted L. higginsii are left to grow in the bottom of the cages protected from predators.  On this trip we will retrieve a couple of cages that were placed in the lake in 2003 and 2004 to see how our “babies” are doing.

St. Croix River: snorkeling in winged mapleleaf country (45 miles by carand boat)

We will carpool to Franconia, MN on the Wild and Scenic St. Croix River. If you snorkel, bring a wetsuit, it’ll still be chilly; otherwise be prepared to wade in the shallow riffle areas where you might catch a glimpse of some of the Upper Midwest’s rarest mussel species.This is home to the Federally Endangered Quadrula fragosa, Lampsilis higginsiiand more than a dozen other state listed species.In the St. Croix River basin we have the last remaining viable populations in Minnesota of Epioblasma triquetra, Cumberlandia monodonta, Cyclonaias tuberculata, Tritigonia verrucosa, Simpsonaias ambigua, Quadrula metanevra, and Ellipsaria lineolata.

Mississippi River Gorge: mussel reintroduction site (5 miles by car, boat tour of site).

Carpool or take a short taxi ride to Hidden Falls Park on the bank of the Mississippi River. This hidden treasure is in the heart of Minnesota’s largest metropolitan area, yet when you are there it feels almost like a wilderness. One of last ice ages’ finest remnants, the gorge of the Mississippi River was formed by the upstream migration of the famous Falls of St. Anthony. By the late 1800’s the falls had moved about 7-miles upstream of the Mississippi’s confluence with the Minnesota River and in its wake had left the steepest rapids found anywhere on our continents largest river, nearly 100 feet of gradient. Unfortunately for the fish and mussels of the free-flowing Mississippi, a dam was completed in 1917 that drowned all but a small remnant of the former rapids, blocking access to spawning sturgeon, paddlefish and other species. Today, below the dam there are still a couple of miles of fast moving water with stable gravel and cobble bottom. With relief from extreme water quality problems present prior to 1990, a rebirth of life in this former (and original) “dead zone” of the Mississippi River has been taking place. In 2000 an effort to reintroduce Lampsilis higginsii and several other rare species began. We’ll tour this site by boat and explore the natural beauty of the Mississippi’s only gorge by locking up through the 40 foot high dam and traveling to the foot of St. Anthony Falls (weather permitting).