April 14, 2014

Crabby Monday...MUSSEL POWER!

Hello, Blogville Darlings.   Today we would like to share a story of PURE MUSSEL POWER!   Teeheehee.    You see, being shelled ladies means that we have a keen interest in all creatures who are also with-shell.   POL

Now, most of you know that we live in our crabitat in Sarge's house and that this territory is on top of a ginormous hill.   At the bottom of our hill is the Allegheny River and a bridge that crosses it there.

There is the Allegheny River in the background behind and below Sarge.
The bridge is just to the left of this scene.

 Well, darlings, the bridge is in need of replacement and this is where the MUSSEL POWER comes in.   As the official peeps were preparing to demolish the bridge and build a new one, they found a rare colony of Clubshell Mussels and the endangered Northern Riffleshell Mussel.   It is such a splendid group of shelled friends that it was found to be one of the very few and very large collections IN THE WORLD.   Yes, that's right.    We find that to be magnificent.  Glorious even.

They are gorgeous creatures and we love them enormously.

Here is some scientific data about our neighbor friends.

Habitat: The Clubshell Mussel prefers clean, loose sand and gravel in medium to small rivers and streams. This mussel will bury itself in the bottom substrate to depths of up to four inches.

Behavior: Reproduction requires a stable, undisturbed habitat and a sufficient population of fish hosts to complete the mussel's larval development. When the male discharges sperm into the current, females downstream siphon in the sperm to fertilize their eggs, which they store in their gill pouches until the larvae hatch. The females then expel the larvae. Those larvae which manage to attach themselves by means of tiny clasping valves to the gills of a host fish, grow into juveniles with shells of their own. At that point they detach from the host fish and settle into the stream bed, ready for a long (possibly up to 50 years) life as an adult mussel.

It's Endangered: The Clubshell was once found from Michigan to Alabama, and from Illinois to West Virginia. Extirpated from Alabama, Illinois and Tennessee, it occurs today in portions of only 12 streams.

Habitat: The Northern Riffleshell occurs in clean, firmly packed, coarse sand and gravel in riffles and runs of small and large streams.  Of the 54 streams once known to be occupied by this species, six still support populations of the northern riffleshell, and only three of these populations show evidence of reproduction.   Two are in the Allegheny River system (Allegheny River and French Creek, Pennsylvania), and one in the Sydenham River (Ontario, Canada).
REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS: Dams and reservoirs have flooded most of this mussel's habitat, reducing its gravel and sand habitat and probably affecting the distribution of its fish hosts. Reservoirs act as barriers that isolate upstream populations from downstream ones.
Erosion caused by strip mining, logging and farming adds silt to many rivers, which can clog the mussel's feeding siphons and even smother it. Other threats include pollution from agricultural and industrial runoff. These chemicals and toxic metals become concentrated in the body tissues of such filter-feeding mussels as the northern riffleshell, eventually poisoning it to death.
Zebra mussels, an exotic (non-native) species which is spreading rapidly throughout the eastern U.S., also pose a threat. By attaching in great numbers to native mussels such as the northern riffleshell, zebra mussels suffocate and kill the native species.

The middle Allegheny River contains the world’s most extensive known population of northern riffleshell. “Though it is listed as an endangered species in Pennsylvania, the population at this site has been identified as a source of animals for species recovery efforts due to the planned replacement of the Hunters Station Bridge.

Goodness, this is so wonderful!   These amazing friends are being fiercely protected by both Federal and Pennsylvania State agencies dedicated to animals like these endangered mussels.   So, then there is the problem of the bridge.    In 2013 an attempt was made to move the mussels so that they would not be killed when the current bridge is demolished/dropped and a new bridge built in its place.   Well, darlings, they moved approximately 4,000 mussels in August of that year.   They were transported to Illinois, Ohio and West Virginia to help repopulate the species in those waters.   The mussels could not simply be moved up or down the Allegheny because it would overpopulate those areas and threaten their lives.  So, away they went to new homes.

That might be the end of this story, however, they didn't just find a few thousand shelled friends.   NO, THEY NOW KNOW THERE ARE ABOUT 200,000 OF THEM HERE!    Isn't that wonderful!   So many more of them are surviving.   Well, now the majestic protector-peeps won't allow the old bridge to be dropped until many more mussel lives are saved.   Hurraaaayyyyy!    This whole project will be done in such a way as to ensure the least possible destruction and upset to the mussel populations.   And many will begin new lives and families in areas where they haven't lived in ages.  

Now, we crabby girls must admit that this issue is causing a delay to this bridge replacement.  There is also a major issue with the golf course that is here next to our territory.   The golf course problem will delay this project by several years, however that is not nearly as fascinating as the story of our shelled friends the Clubshell and Riffleshell Mussels. 

Ciao and Little Pinches,
Beachnut, Oceana, Shelldon


The Daily Pip said...

Hurray for your mussel friends!! I wonder where in IL they were transferred? Do you know what river? My new mom works for an organization that helps rivers and the creatures that live in them here in IL. She says she is going to ask some of her co-workers to see if any of your friends were relocated near us.

Ruby (and Angel Pip)

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

Glad the human peeps are saving as many mussel lives as possible.

Unknown said...

Power to the mussels and they are far more interesting than golf balls LOL. We hope they managed to save a good load of them. Have a marvellous Monday.
Best wishes Molly

Unknown said...

This is so wonderful! What a lot of mussels there are and so glad they are surviving. Mussel Power is right!

Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

It is nice to hear about a species surviving and thriving. Thanks for sharing.

Hailey and Zaphod and their Lady said...

It is nice to hear about a species surviving and thriving. Thanks for sharing.

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

THAT is a fabulous story. POWER to the SHELL.
We hope they are successful in finding homes and that they are able to survive and Multiply.

Two French Bulldogs said...

How cool and interesting is that! Careful so they don't try to move in to your crab a tat
Lily & Edward

Murphy said...

Very interesting! And it is interesting that you and F & E both live on top of hills! Does Sarge swim in the river?

Your Pals,

Murphy & Stanley

Anonymous said...

I'm glad the humans have a heart for the mussels. I think stories like that make our world a little better. Thanks for sharing dear girls!

Matilda the Boxer said...

Mussel power indeed! Those are strong strong little shells, holding up a whole bridge. BOL!

My Mind's Eye said...

You 3 adorable gals are kissin' cousins to the river girls and boys!
Madi your bfff

Sagira said...

Goodness, that is a lot but good thing they were found and can hopefully survive. Your place has some beautiful views my friend. :)

Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

Yay for mussel power! Shellfish of the world UNITE! That's great--except we think the bridge should stay and they should be able to live in their little world.

XXXOOO Bella & Roxy

Daisy said...

WOW! That is quite a story. I love to hear happy outcomes like this. In California, there is a little fish called the Delta smelt. It isn't a native fish, but the environmentalists are making things worse for us to protect the non-native fishy. It's not even endangered! They should read this story and get their priorities straight!

Idaho PugRanch said...

What a fascinating Story. So glad they are trying to save them and find new homes
Mr Bailey, Hazel & Greta

Sweet William The Scot said...

Well where in Ohio did they move them. Are they in my flooded Little Miami? If they are in the Ohio we are going to take down a bridge and build a new one I hear. Why I am going to have to look for your relatives when I get down to the river.
Thanks for all that data, we suck up new info.
Thanks for being a friend
Sweet William The Scot

Ziggy Stardust said...

Hi Girls, that is a wonderful story and I learned something new. Thank you.I am so glad they are saving your shelled pals. I hope they can save lots and lots of them. Will you have a party for them??

Loveys Sasha

Little Miss Titch said...

Wow what a great job,xx Speedy