Freshwater Mussel Surveys & Relocations

From Riffles to Rivers

Our team conducts surveys on waterbodies ranging from headwater streams to large navigable rivers throughout the southeast, northeast, and midwest. We have experience with low visibility diving, threatened and endangered species, tagging efforts, and relocations. Mussel survey efforts have included presence/absence, reconnaissance, water withdrawal monitoring, and phase I and and II surveys, relocations, tagging, and mitigation efforts.

AllStar is also efficient in compiling and submitting all necessary data and reports to clients and agencies in a very timely manner. Our staff members have extensive experience working alongside and directly with state and federal agencies to complete freshwater mussel surveys, as well as to expedite the reporting and project permitting process.

Big River Diving

Safety and efficiency are our top priorities. AIIStar’s dive team follows the American Academy of Underwater Science’s Standards for Scientific Diving. All of our divers are PADI Rescue Certified and our Lead Divers are PADI Master Divers. Our Malacologists are fully equipped with boats, underwater communication units, photo and video cameras, and all appropriate safety gear. We have conducted surveys in the Ohio, Kanawha, Elk, Cumberland, and Allegheny Rivers often under low visibility conditions. AIIStar divers are also equipped and experienced in dry suit diving for cold weather conditions.

Threatened & Endangered Species

Our malacologists have significant experience surveying for Threatened & Endangered freshwater mussel species and we have experience handling and identifying threatened and endangered species in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Our mussel team is also trained in Section 7 Consultation.

Survey Experience

With qualified malacologists, AIIStar has performed hundreds of freshwater mussels surveys throughout the mid-Atlantic region for various industries including:

  • Oil and gas
  • Utilities
  • Municipalities
  • Offload facilities
  • State and federal agencies
  • Non-profits

Types of Projects

  • Loading facility development, expansion, maintenance, and demolition
  • Waterlines and withdrawals
  • Impoundments and dam removal
  • Stream bank stabilization
  • Bridge and pipeline crossing and removal


Sarah E. Veselka –

Lead Malacologist / Member

Sarah Veselka is an owner of AllStar Ecology and specializes in stream ecosystems. She has over sixteen years of experience conducting stream bioassessments and reporting for research laboratories, non-profits, and private industry. Her skills include southern and central Appalachian freshwater fish, mussel, crayfish, and aquatic benthic macroinvertebrate community sampling and identification. Mrs. Veselka now focuses on freshwater mussel surveys in the Mid-Atlantic region for a wide range of clients. She is a PADI certified Master Scuba Diver and has significant experience with low visibility, large river diving including use of a dry suit and full-face mask communications.


Mussel Survey Project on Leading Creek in Gilmer County, WV.

Pipeline Mussel Survey & Relocation

AllStar conducted a series of mussel surveys and subsequent relocations for a natural gas pipeline repair and low water crossing improvement project on Leading Creek in Gilmer County, WV. A diverse and dense mussel bed was observed using bathyscopes, snorkeling, and SCUBA equipment, resulting in the relocation of nearly 400 freshwater mussels with representatives from 13 different species.

Relocation of Freshwater Mussels West Fork River in Harrison County, WV

Mussel Survey & Salvage for Dam Removal Project

AllStar Ecology partnered with the USFWS and WVDNR to survey for and relocate freshwater mussels in conjunction with the removal of three low-head dams on the West Fork River in Harrison County, WV. AllStar was responsible for coordination, survey design and implementation, mussel identification, and relocation efforts. Over 1,500 freshwater mussels were relocated through the cooperative efforts of state and federal agencies, private industry, and local volunteers.

low visibility mussel surveys in the Monongahela River in Monongalia County, WV

Big River, Low Visibility Mussel Survey

In spring 2016, AllStar divers conducted low visibility mussel surveys in the Monongahela River in Monongalia County, WV. Highly trained surveyors conducted multiple dives from AllStar’s custom dive boat using dry suits and full face mask communications. Divers surveyed areas where bank stabilization would occur, outfalls would be placed, and relocation areas for salvaged mussels.