New state funding could help freshwater mussels make a comeback
The Cumberland monkeyface, Pistol-grip, and Rayed bean may be some of the most unsung heroes of Virginia’s waterways.
All three are types of freshwater mussels, one of the planet’s most unique and underappreciated creatures. But these species have also been vanishing from waterways in alarming numbers for decades. In Virginia, more freshwater mussels than any other species are listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Scientists and other mussel advocates aren’t giving up hope. However, thanks to new state funding, freshwater mussels could see their numbers grow stronger in the years to come.
This year, the General Assembly approved $400,000 to fund a statewide freshwater mussel restoration plan – a first in Virginia’s history. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources will receive the funds over the next two years to hire two additional staff members and plan strategies to restore dwindling populations.
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