Mollusks Clean Dirty Water kills Mollusks

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Ha! This post is the result of some 3AM inspiration! Mollusks clean dirty water kills mollusks.. meaning that mollusks clean dirty water but dirty water kills mollusks! Get it? Well, it caused me to jump out of bed and write it down! And yes I might lack that little light-of-day censor that tells me to bag this great title of inspiration but .. What the heck?!


There are tons of stories coming out of he United Kingdom and Scotland about river mussels and there have been active mussel repopulation efforts in hopes of reviving these endangered mollusks. Mussels are filter feeders and by constantly filtering the water, they inevitably clean it. This fascinates me because Scotland and Ireland used to have rivers full of natural pearls! But, the populations of mussels were decimated due to growth, population, pollution and, of course, overfishing.

Environmental officials want these mussels back and it makes great sense to always revive your mussel population in hopes of keeping our natural waterways filtered and healthy. The problem is, if the waterways are too polluted, when the mussel populations simply cannot survive. They perish is dirty water.

River Spey in Scotland

River Spey is a 107 mile long river in Northeast Scotland. It was reported to have around 10 million mussels on its fast-moving river bottom in 1998. Well, 15 years later, that population has been cut in half… five million mussels in 2013. Environmentalists are concerned.

So, what has happened? Pollution! High levels of phosphorus from detergents, fertilizers and human waste. David Kerr in his article, Concern over mussel decline in Spey, says one culprit is, “discharges from Aviemore sewage works.” Can I hear a collective “Eeeeew!” Yes, the mussels definitely cannot handle filtering all of that human waste! There has also been an increase in housing developments in Strathspey, along the river. The rivers, and the river mussels, are simply overwhelmed.

dirty water kills mussels

So, even thought the mussels are trying to clean the dirty water the dirty water is definitely killing the mussels. Stay tuned… I will be anxious to see what measures are put into place to revive this dying mussel population.

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