This paper seeks to explore the feasibility and possible procedures of restoring freshwater mussels to the Little Westham Creek (LWC) as a way to reduce excess organic pollutants such as nitrogen and phosphorus coming from upstream. To this end, the use of mussels in bioremediation and restoration procedures found in scientific literature were reviewed with the goal of creating a guideline of how such a project would be carried out at the Gambles Mill Eco- Corridor. Based on the results of past literature, water data collected by students in this seminar, and data from RES, it was estimated that a full restoration of mussels with a robust population has the potential to remove up to 5 tons of total suspended solids (TSS) and 200 pounds of Nitrogen per year. As a first step to achieving this, I suggest a project using mussel test cages containing Elliptio complanata (Eastern Eliptio) mussels be deployed to assess the suitability of the LWC for a larger restoration effort. Such a project could be carried out as a part of various biology classes as an educational component and is estimated to cost approximately $810 up front at most. If results indicate that the LWC is a suitable habitat, a further restoration could be attempted using the Elliptio complanata at a later time.
Paper prepared for the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Todd Lookingbill
Hurt, Henry. "Exploring Options for Mussel Restoration." Paper for Environmental Studies Senior Seminar, University of Richmond, April 2020.