Anacostia River Mussel Power: How Can YOU Help?

Anacostia River Mussel Power: How Can YOU Help?
January 7, 2019 by: Jorge Bogantes

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Happy New Year!

In 2018, volunteering was critical to make this project a reality. Whether it was for building mussel baskets, exclosures, monitoring, or for general maintenance, volunteers played a key role in helping us jump start this exciting new project. We want to keep it that way this new year. Special kudos to our amazing volunteers from our Watershed Stewards Academy (WSA) and Master Naturalist programs (and other non-affiliated volunteers) for all the hours of mussel/muscle power they put into this project! 

This year, we will create a "wait list" of folks interested in volunteering for our mussel restoration effort, people on the list will be invited to the mussel restoration work days. If you are interested in volunteering, please register here and we will put you on the list. Because of the nature of the tasks required by this project, we will need the help of small groups of volunteers (4-10 people at each site) and not large groups of people like we normally do for our other restoration projects. Mussel deployment will happen in early April, at that time we will also work on the exclosures, some of which need to be enlarged. After that, monitoring will happen once a month and maintenance will happen continuously as needed especially after storms and such. People on the list will also be invited to our wild mussel surveys in the river where we will be monitoring the existing wild mussels communities at different sites. Volunteering may involve walking in mud/water (in both hot or cold temperatures) with boots or waders, lifting weight (20-30 lbs), and other minor physical activities outdoors. 

You can help us sustain and expand great programs like this one with a donation.  

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Volunteers from our Master Naturalist Program helped build the floating baskets for the mussels. 

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Our Master Naturalists after a successful day of mussel basket building. 

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AWS staff, interns and volunteers from both our WSA and Master Naturalist programs helped during the day of mussel deployment on August 22, 2018 at our floating office in DC. This was the day after we brought our mussels from the hatchery in Charles City, Virginia. Folks were counting and measuring the little guys before putting them in their new home. 

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The mussels have to be strained and counted to determine survival/mortality per basket. At some sites, the baskets get a lot of sediment build up. Photo: Gregg Trilling.

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Monitoring involves measuring the mussel shells, their length, height and depth using calipers. This is how we monitor growth to compare it between sites. Photo: Gregg Trilling. 

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Besides learning a lot about freshwater mussels, this is a great opportunity to explore and enjoy the Anacostia River. 

Here's to another successful year of Mussel Power!!



Jorge Bogantes

Jorge Bogantes

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