Iowa DOT News Release

Mississippi mussels soon to be on the move - Media Day to be held Aug. 2

Posted on: July 26, 2016

AMES, Iowa – July 26, 2016 –  The Iowa Department of Transportation, in conjunction with the Illinois DOT, both the Iowa and Illinois departments of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Federal Highway Administration, are currently working to relocate approximately 450,000 mussels in the Mississippi River. The relocation is necessary to accommodate the new alignment of the Interstate 74 bridge over the Mississippi River between Iowa and Illinois.

As good environmental stewards, the Iowa DOT has worked with all associated groups to carefully plan the relocations and keep the mussels as close as possible to their existing habitat. Crews have begun setting up for the relocation project today, although the actual relocation will not begin until Aug. 1, weather permitting. The relocation project is being carried out by a consultant who specializes in mussels in the Mississippi River. All mussels should be relocated in approximately two months.


MEDIA AVAILABILITY Aug. 2 from 8 to 10 a.m.

The media day event will be 8am-10am under the I-74 Bridge (Ilinois side).  Opportunities to see and photograph the mussel processing center will occur during this time and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expert will be available for interviews and questions. Boats will be available for members of the press who wish to get a bit closer to the divers for photographic reasons, but appointments must be made for a boat ride. The boat trips will be scheduled during the morning and early afternoon on Aug. 2 and should take about an hour or less. 

No one will be allowed on diving boats or within 100 feet of working divers.

To make an appointment for a boat tour, please contact United States Fish and Wildlife Service officials: Heidi Woeber at 309-757-5800 ext. 209,  or Kristen Lundh at 309-757-5800 ext. 215,


During the relocation, navigation use will not be affected. However, recreational boaters are asked to avoid the area if possible for the safety of divers. If you must be on the river at this location, “no wake” areas will be marked by buoys and operators of all watercraft are asked to reduce speed in the work area.

The mussels are being moved as a requirement of the Federal Endangered Species Act (Section 7) which prohibits the harm, harassment, or taking of a federally listed species. Three federally endangered mussels have been identified and will be included in the relocation- Spectaclecase (Cumberlandia monodata), Sheepnose (Plethobasus cyphyus), and Higgins Eye Pearlymussel (Lampsilis higginsii).


For I-74 project information, contact: Sam Shea, Iowa Department of Transportation at 319-286-4907,
For information on the mussel relocation project, contact: United States Fish and Wildlife Service officials Heidi Woeber at 309-757-5800 ext. 209, or Kristen Lundh at 309-757-5800 ext. 215,

Iowa highway in the evening