Yellow Lance Mussel Now Listed as Threatened

On April 2, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that the yellow lance mussel (Elliptio lanceolata) will be formally listed as federally threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  The yellow lance has been a species of concern since 1991 when it was first reviewed by the USFWS.  The threatened species listing takes effect on May 3, 2018 which means your projects must now take extra care to avoid impacting the yellow lance mussel, because a knowing violation of the Endangered Species Act will result in hefty ETS fines.  See our article in this issue about recent ETS fine increases.

The USFWS has not designated critical habitat at this time, but the yellow lance has only been recorded in the Patuxent, Rappahannock, York, James, Chowan, Tar, and Neuse River basins in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.  We expect individual states to add the yellow lance to their state threatened or endangered lists soon, and will provide updates as new information is available.

Wetland Studies and Solutions is very experienced in dealing with potential mussel habitat on project sites, and can help plan your project to avoid impacting the species.  We also work very closely with USFWS-approved mussel surveyors to coordinate a survey when required.  Please reach out to the contacts below for more information about the yellow lance mussel.


  • Ben Rosner

    Gainesville, VA