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Mussel Survey Grant

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Through his research, Spier has sampled nearly 40 locations on each river and its tributaries, which consisted of handpicking and snorkeling to collect the samples. Any live samples were returned unharmed, he added.


“It's important to monitor remaining mussel populations to ensure their preservation. Freshwater mussels are crucial components of freshwater ecosystems. They improve water quality by filtering organisms, and because of their inability to escape disturbances, such as pollutants and sedimentation, they are often a good indicator of the 'health' of water bodies,” Spier explained. “The lack of mussels in a stream often indicates a problem with water quality. In addition, they are a food source for muskrats, otters, minks, fish and some birds. The rivers of Illinois once provided habitat for 80 species of mussels. Of those, 17 are no longer found in Illinois and only 27 species are considered stable.”


Spier's research took place June through September 2010, and the results will be presented at the Freshwater Mollusks Conservation Society meeting this year, as well as at the Illinois American Fisheries Society and the Illinois Lake Management Association. Spier's study was also supported by the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance.





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Research like this is great, however, I am more concerned with what happens with that information!


The signs of decline in environmental indicators are everywhere....


My question is, how does that translate into strictor pollution regulation, strictor runoff policies, habitat conservation, and funding for conservation?


Going back a few threads, I questioned the EPA about regulations....they simply said that conditions are monitored. There are no actions on the table that establishes a plan to improve water quality at all!


Facts and research are great but if nothing is done with that information the work is done in vane. It's interesting that scientists are often the ones telling everyone else "see, I told you so". In some cases that same statement goes like this..."see, I told you so, now it's too late to do anything about it."


(.....CAFO's are one example)


I think that's why many people get upset about environmental damage....much of it is preventable.

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Actually, the EPA just hammered IL for their handling of CAFO's and there are much stricter guidelines in place, or will be going forward.

I have more good news on that front that I'll share soon. Watch for an action alert in this forum.

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I did an entire write-up on the mussel survey grant we provided in a recent Bronzeback Bulletin, and here is the complete follow-up:




Happy reading!


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