Bulletin Board

EOR's Dive Team

EOR’s Dive Team & malacologists perform the following services:
1.) design and perform quantitative species surveys;
2.) relocate mussels from impact zones; and
3.) monitor mussel populations as indicators of water quality.

freshwater mussel

Freshwater mussels are a unique group of ecologically and economically important organisms - yet despite their importance, mussels are not well understood and they are becoming extinct faster than any other group of animals on the planet. In response to their rapid decline, state and federal laws require projects that would destroy threatened or endangered mussels to perform surveys and relocate programs that will aid in their survival. These policies allow for development without harming the mussel communities.

freshwater mussel

Mussels feed by filtering water, making them sensitive to pollutants and very good indicators of water quality. Mussel adults do not move often or quickly, making them particularly sensitive to habitat alteration. Mussel juveniles often require specific host fish, so changes in fish population also affect mussel species composition. Their relationship to water quality, dependence on fish for dispersal, and their ecological function as filter feeders make mussels an ideal ‘sentinel’ of damage to the environment.

mussels on the banks of the St. Croix River

In the long run, all the watershed improvements made by engineers and natural resource specialists at EOR aid mussel communities. In the short term, however, emergency measures must often be taken by EOR's Dive Team in providing immediate protection for those endangered and threatened mussels and their fresh water habitats.