According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), approximately 4,000 endangered northern riffleshell and clubshell mussels were released into the Big Darby Creek on Aug. 7.
The goal was to establish additional self-sustaining mussel populations and eventually remove these species from the federal endangered species list.
“Restoring Ohio mussel populations is an ongoing effort that could not be accomplished without the assistance and cooperation of many parties,” said ODNR Division of Wildlife Chief Scott Zody. “The ODNR Division of Wildlife would like to thank everyone involved who has worked so tirelessly to improve Big Darby Creek’s habitat and the aquatic diversity of this high-quality stream.”
The northern riffleshell and clubshell mussels are state and federal endangered species found in only a handful of locations in Ohio. Since 2008, 6,107 northern riffleshell and 56 clubshell mussels have been released in the Big Darby Creek.
Cooperating partners involved with the project include the ODNR Division of Wildlife, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Ohio State University, Franklin County Metro Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
The mussels were collected from the Allegheny River in Pennsylvania where these species thrive. The mussels were each marked with a passive integrated transponder tag so that their movement throughout the river can be tracked. Big Darby Creek offers the proper habitat and excellent water quality needed for these species to survive, and it is hoped the release will augment existing populations.
Funding for this project and other endangered species conservation efforts is derived from the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund.
Contributions are made through the purchase of a cardinal license plate, the purchase of an Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp, the state income tax checkoff and direct donations. Visit the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s website at wildohio.com for more information.