Mississippi River Mussels Making Comeback in Twin Cities

Freshwater Mussels of the Upper Mississippi River System Freshwater Mussels of the Upper Mississippi River System |  Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service

August 17, 2015 12:15 PM

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A variety of native mussel species once wiped out by pollution are making a comeback on the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and St. Paul.


The mussels suffered when sewage, industrial waste and farm runoff began tainting the river. But biologists discovered about 15 years ago that the native species was starting to return thanks to efforts to improve water quality.

Tamara Smith, an endangered species biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, likens mussels to a canary in a coal mine. She tells Minnesota Public Radio News ( ) that mussels are a telltale sign of water quality.

Researchers say the mussels play an important role in the aquatic food web because they capture organic matter that's later consumed by fish and other animals.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News,

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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