On August 29th, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) and Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Inc. (TTF) collaborated on freshwater mussel seeding at two locations in the Tacony Creek. At this event, 50 freshly tagged Elliptio complanata, or Eastern Elliptio, were transplanted from further upstream. These mussels are about 2-3″ long. To see more photos from the day in the Tookany click here. To learn more about the event see the TTF blog post about the event or the PDE website on Freshwater Mussels. The Mussel program also had great press in the Philadelphia Inquirer and CBS Philadelphia.
So why mussels?
The surveying is part of a larger Delaware Estuary effort that is connected a national effort to recover freshwater mussels. To learn more about the PDE initiative, see Freshwater Mussel Recovery Strategy for the Delaware Estuary and River Basin .
Freshwater mussels are a sign of healthy watersheds. Good Mussel habitats are those with healthy water, trees and plants, and stable stream banks, whereas bad mussel habitats are those with litter, lack of trees, dams, and dirty water. (See image below)
In the Delaware River basin, the species richness dramatically declined throughout the 20th Century. However, with renewed efforts to improve water quality in the region, mussels are slowly returning to the area.
For more information, click here to see the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary Identification Survey and Volunteer Survey Guidebook, as well as visiting the TTF and PDE websites.