Snokelers during a mussel survey
Mussel Survey A snorkeler scans the bottom of the Clinch River during a mussel survey at Cleveland Barrens, Virginia. © Daniel White / TNC

Places We Protect

Pendleton Island


Three of the mussels that occur at this site exist in fewer than 10 sites worldwide.


Due to the presence of sensitive species and difficult access, visitation is restricted at Pendleton Island, a collection of three predominately wooded isles in the Clinch River in southwest Virginia.

This environment supports the highest concentration of Cumberlandian mollusk species known to exist anywhere in the world. To date, 45 species have been identified, of which eight are federally listed as endangered.

Pendleton Island was acquired by TNC in 1983. Protection of this area may have a global impact on the survival of several mollusk species. Three of the mussels that occur here exist in fewer than 10 sites worldwide, and one of these exists only at Pendleton Island.