Sep 06

Print this Post

Saving a Natural Water Filter: Mussels

Mussels have a bigger job than meets the eye. Listen up for the scoop on these clean water VIPs:


Take a closer look, and you’ll see that mussels really do come in all shapes and sizes. (via USFWS)

They may not look like they’re up to much, but mussels actively filter contaminants along with their food, making them nature’s original water purifier.

More than 300 types of mussels are native to North America. And although not generally considered exciting species, they are an integral part of a healthy stream or river.

Living at the bottom of streams and creeks, mussels improve water quality by removing particles and contaminants as they filter out their food. And in turn, many animals—think raccoons, otters, and egrets, to name a few—depend on these bivalves for food.

Unfortunately, more than 70 percent of our freshwater mussels are now imperiled or extinct due to poor water quality, degraded habitat, and over-harvesting.

But don’t be shell-shocked—we can help protect remaining mussel populations by reducing runoff and controlling invasive species.

Learn More:

The fine print:


Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/agricultural-runoff/saving-freshwater-mussels/