Investigation of Factors Contributing to the Decline in the Nutritional Health of Alasmidonta raveneliana in the Little Tennessee River, Franklin, North Carolina

The Appalachian elktoe (Alasmidonta raveneliana) is found at geographically fragmented locations in Western North Carolina and Tennessee (Fridell 2003). In Tennessee, it is only found in a short reach of the Nolichucky River. In North Carolina, relatively small, scattered populations still remain in the Nolichucky, Upper French Broad, and Little Tennessee River systems (USFWS 2003). The species is imperiled and was federally listed as endangered in 1994. The relatively thin-shelled elktoe predominately resides in lotic rocky streams with a stable substrate (Fridell 2003). No single specific factor has been associated with its extirpation from rivers systems in Tennessee and NC. However, water impoundments that limit stream flow, and construction related activities that disrupt and alter stream sediments have been suggested as reasons for their decline (Fridell 2003). The Little Tennessee River is essential to the recovery of the Appalachian elktoe in NC. The River, in Western North Carolina has its origins in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia, from where it flows North into NC and then northwest into Tennessee (NCDWQ and LTBA 2008). However, the Little Tennessee River elktoe population has experienced a precipitous decline since 2004. Prior to 2005, the Little Tennessee River population of Appalachian elktoe had been considered the healthiest of remaining populations. The quality of habitat in the river and the overall number and year classes of A. raveneliana suggested that the population was stable. However, in 2005, biologists with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission documented a substantial decline in the numbers of Appalachian elktoe at several sites scattered throughout the occupied reach of the river (Steve Fraley, NCWRC, pers. comm. 2005). The cause(s) of this decline is (are) unknown, but the decline appears to be continuing (S. Fraley pers. comm. 2010). To date, this population appears to have suffered approximately 90 percent reduction in numbers. Any additional impacts to this population could result in its extirpation.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Project is completed but no report was generated(LWJ).


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $191999.00
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    North Carolina Department of Transportation

    Research and Development
    1549 Mail Service Center
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27699-1549
  • Project Managers:

    Kirby, John

  • Performing Organizations:

    North Carolina State University

    College of Veterinary Medicine
    4700 Hillsborough Street
    Raleigh, NC  United States  27606
  • Principal Investigators:

    Levine, Jay

  • Start Date: 20130101
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20150331
  • Source Data: RiP Project 38968

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01550528
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: North Carolina Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: 2013-34
  • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 23 2015 1:00AM