Mussel surveying is just one way we can meet our goal to improve the health of our creek and its watershed. Working with the Mussel Surveying program of the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE), we train volunteers to look for freshwater mussels. These organisms are a type of bivalve related to clams and oysters, which come in a variety of colors and sizes and are usually found buried in the sediment on the bottom of a stream, with only two small siphons exposed.
There are about 300 species of freshwater mussels nationwide. Freshwater mussels filter pollutants out of water, cleaning our waterways and playing an important role in natural ecosystems. However, they are the most imperiled of all plants and animals in our region and are rarely found in areas where they were once common.
PDE is working to help these mussels, but the last comprehensive survey was completed about 100 years ago… so it’s time to survey again! Collecting and reporting this data will help scientists understand these organisms and find ways to help them make a comeback. Read more about PDE’s work with freshwater mussels here.