On the last Friday of August, TTF worked with the Partnership for Delaware Estuary (PDE) to reintroduce freshwater mussels at two locations in the Tacony Creek. 50 freshly tagged Elliptio complanata, or Eastern Elliptio, were tucked into the silty substrate of the creek.
The mussels, which average 2-3″ long, are transplants from healthy populations farther up the Delaware River. The mussels were tagged with a number and small chip so that scientists can find them on return visits to monitor their health and growth.
Freshwater mussels filter the water in the creek as they feed. Years ago, streams throughout the region were loaded with many species of freshwater mussels. Now, due to pollution and other environmental factors, they are the most imperiled of all plants or animals in America. Transplanting small groups of mussels into the creek will help the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary determine whether Tacony Creek is ready for larger scale mussel reintroduction efforts.
View more photos here.
We have participated in mussel surveying efforts across our watershed, after receiving PDE training, for three years. This mussel seeding would not have been possible without the hard work of over 60 volunteers at numerous surveying events. Here’s our most recent mussel blog. We look forward to continuing to work with PDE on this very exciting, important effort! We were also happy that Karen Young, Executive Director of the Fairmount Water Works, a key mussel partner, joined us for this special morning.
Read Sandy Bauers’ mussel piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer: Partnership aims at saving freshwater mussels (September 24, 2014).
For more information about freshwater mussels, visit the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary or contact us at TTF.