North America has the most diverse freshwater mussel fauna on Earth, but about 30 species have become extinct in the last 100 years and over half of the remaining fauna is in danger of extinction. As filter feeders, mussels are an integral component of freshwater ecosystems, and they have a large, positive benefit on water quality. In the last 30 years, recognition of this extinction crisis prompted concerted conservation efforts from state, federal, and tribal agencies, academia, and non-governmental conservation organizations. The effectiveness of these efforts has not been evaluated previously in a comprehensive fashion. Forest Service scientist Wendell Haag, along with collaborator James Williams at the University of Florida, was invited to provide an assessment of mussel conservation strategies for inclusion a special issue of the journal Hydrobiologia, which represented the proceedings of the International Meeting on the Biology and Conservation of Freshwater Bivalves, Bragança, Portugal, September 2012. The paper, published May 2014, critically assessed the effectiveness of mussel conservation efforts and outlined ways that conservation can be more effective in the future. It will promote international dialogue about strategies for conservation of mussels and protection of the integrity of freshwater ecosystems.