From episode #2105: Collectively, they clean millions of gallons of water in America’s rivers, lakes and streams each day. Individually, though, many of them are fighting for survival. They are mussels — nature’s very own water filters. These low-profile animals play a crucial role in determining water quality. But the intrusion of man through development and pollution is killing many mussels and endangering others. That’s why the TWRA and others are working to grow mussels and restore them to their natural habitat. It’s too big of a job for just one agency, though. Wild Side Guide Ken Tucker shows us how a little cooperation between states can go a long way in helping the cause.
Growing and nurturing mussels is a long-term process which requires determination and patience. It will take years to restore the Alabama Lampmussel population in the Elk River but as long as there is progress, we can be optimistic about the animals’ future. Continued cooperation between wildlife agencies also means there’s a greater chance of improving the water quality of other rivers and lakes that cross state lines.