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Restoring Freshwater Mussel Rivers in England

Glochidia scale 1mm
Pearl Mussels in gravel

Restoring Freshwater Mussel Rivers in England is a three-year flagship project funded by Biffa Award to carry out river restoration on important pearl mussel catchments in England in preparation for reintroduction of juvenile mussels reared in the FBA’s Freshwater Pearl Mussel Ark . The FBA is the project lead and we are working with partners including Devon Wildlife Trust, North York Moors National Park, South Cumbria Rivers Trust and West Cumbria Rivers Trust to deliver restoration activities on the ground. In collaboration with partners, the FBA will also develop a marking and reintroduction strategy for juvenile mussels and trial reintroductions within the life of the project. This fantastic project aims to safeguard mussel populations in some of the most important pearl mussel catchments in England.

The freshwater pearl mussel is declining throughout its range and there are currently no sustainable populations in England. Populations have been affected by a range of impacts including wildlife crime, habitat degradation and declining water quality. This project will tackle these issues in an attempt to reverse declines by implementing best practice conservation methods to restore riverine habitats, riparian areas and issues affecting the wider catchment.

Through the partnership we will:

  • Gather information to build a comprehensive picture of the factors affecting pearl mussels and the riparian ecosystem on which they depend.  
  • Carry out habitat enhancements to benefit pearl mussels and their host fish (salmon/trout/Arctic charr) both directly and through water quality improvements.  
  • Encourage community involvement, establishing a significant community presence on rivers which will monitor habitat and water quality and be directly engaged in issues related to pearl mussel conservation.
  • Test innovative techniques to enhance the reproductive success of pearl mussels through re-introductions and by initiating long-term juvenile augmentation trials.

The project will run for three years from January 2015. To keep up to date with the latest news on this project please ‘Like’ the FBA on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@freshwaterbio #musselrivers). You could also visit our display at the Lakes Aquarium.

Project supported by:

Biffa award

Project partners:

EA LogoNatural England LogoNorth Yorkshire Moors National ParkSouth Cumbrian Rivers TrustWest Cumbrian Rivers TrustDevon Wildlife Trust

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