In Westmoreland Park twenty-one of us collected samples in three teams, sorted and ID'd the organisms and returned them to the stream. We found a normal baseline of diversity for a lowland urbanized stream- the larvae of midges, casemaker caddisflies, and alderflies, aquatic earthworms, several types of snails, and a few others. As expected we did not find many freshwater mussels so soon after the restoration but we did find one immature 'young-of-the-year' Floater (Anodonta spp.). This data will provide a baseline, a sort of 'time zero' for the restored area- we will continue sampling annually to see how things improve as a result of the work done there.
At Union Manor fourteen of us surveyed the freshwater mussel population in 20 sampling reaches, also taking note of the presence and location of mussels with numbered tags. Tagged mussels are individuals that were rescued from Westmoreland Park in 2013 and relocated to Union Manor where there was already a healthy population. We counted over 2100 mussels in all, including many tagged individuals. Based on the ratio of tagged empty shells and tagged live mussels the relocated population survival rate is a whopping 95%!
Thanks to all the volunteers who spent hours in cold water grubbing about in the streambed searching for bugs and mussels- fun but sometimes difficult work. The data collected will be used to design future fish habitat restoration projects plans to include native freshwater mussels in the planning, and could not have been collected without the hardworking volunteers.
Crystal Springs Partnership members, PSU Capstone students, and Special Guest writers all contribute to this blog.