Orion Mussel Bed, SNA #298 (13/674)

A diversity of rare mussels and insects inhabit this 4.2 mile stretch of the Wisconsin River along its northern shore.  These include the state-threatened rock pocketbook (Arcidens confragosus), monkeyface (Quadrula metanevra), and wartyback (Q. nodulata), and the federally endangered Higgins’ eye (Lampsilis higginsii). Rare invertebrates include the smoky shadowfly (Neurocordulia molesta), elusive clubtail (Stylurus notatus), Knobel’s riffle beetle (Stenelmis knobeli), and Wallace’s deepwater mayfly (Spinadis wallacei or simplex). Uncommon fish include the mud darter (Etheostoma asprigene) and western sand darter (E. clarum).  As this was in the very early days of exploration, I did not venture into the river, though this is something I plan to do in summer 2016.  There is a portion of this SNA known as the Effigy Mounds group that includes actual land.  Parking is a dead-end/cul-de-sac that doesn’t really look like one should be parking there.  Invasive species abound in this area including reed canary grass and orange hawkweed.  In terms of scenic beauty, this is not a a site that is high on the list, as its treasures are largely held beneath the surface.

More of my photos from Orion Mussel Bed can be viewed here.

Additional Information

SNA # 298
County Richland
Parking Pull-off (gravel)
Trails No
Easy to Find Yes
Best Seen By Water
Marked Boundaries No
Ownership Wisconsin DNR
Located Within Lower Wisconsin State Riverway
Dates Visited 6.20.09
Richland County

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