Putting mussel into conservation

Freshwater mussels clean rivers and streams by filtering out harmful bacteria and removing sediment. They also form underwater gardens for algae and insect larvae, which feed small fish and snails, increasing the food supply for salmon, lamprey and other species.

The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is working to counter the decline of mussel populations in the West. A previous grant from the PGE Habitat Support program funded the group’s research into mussels in Oregon. A recent grant of $27,500 funded a handbook of best management practices for river restoration and workshops for the organizations doing the work.

“We’ve had 77 people from 20 agencies and organizations at our workshops so far and we are just getting started,” said Emilie Blevins, Freshwater Mussel lead for Xerces. “Getting the handbook completed and being able to offer on-site technical assistance to project managers is making a huge difference.”

You can help The Nature Conservancy with local habitat restoration projects like these by adding PGE Habitat Support for $2.50 a month. Just log into your PGE account online.