Students salvage native mussels at Claytor Lake State Park


Students from the RU chapter of The Wildlife Society (RUTWS) joined a group of over 50 volunteers to assist in saving native mussels at Claytor Lake State Park. Every two years, AEP lowers the lake level to allow residents to clean off their docks and piers on the lake. This year, the drawdown was about 5 ft below the normal lake level, lower than it's been in about a decade. This exposed a vast number of native mussels that help to filter organic material and sometimes pollutants from the water. 



On this cold Saturday in November, students spent several hours collecting live native mussels from the muddy banks and returned them to the lake. In sum, they returned 783 live mussels back to the water. This was a great experience for the students to collaborate on this project, which brought together several state agencies (VDGIF, State Parks), schools (RU, Virginia Tech, Pulaski County High School), and volunteer organizations (Virginia Master Naturalists, Friends of Claytor Lake).



RUTWS chapter president, Kristy Clark, holds a handful of native mussels that she is about to return to the water


RUTWS member Mac Landwermeyer pitches mussels safely back into the water

Nov 13, 2017
Karen Powers