Mississippi Gorge Cleaned by Helpful Mussel

Snuffbox mussels help filter the Mississippi River Gorge, however dams are currently threatening their species. Check out this video to see the mussel in action.

Snuffbox Mussel | USFWS

This blog is a part of our America’s Most Endangered Rivers® series on the Mississippi River Gorge.

Mussels – the Brita filters of the animal world – are the most endangered animal in North America due to habitat degradation in rivers.

In this video, the female federally-endangered snuffbox mussel hides in the gravel bed waiting for a common logperch to flip it like a pebble. When the logperch touches the female snuffbox, she grabs the fish by the nose while ejecting her baby glochidia, who will attach themselves to the logperch’s gills to feed until they grow large enough to settle in a gravel bed.

Not to worry! The logperch is unharmed by the encounter.

No other small fish can survive the snuffbox’s attention, making the logperch its obligate host. In other words, the mussel is totally dependent on the logperch for the survival of its species.

While the snuffbox mussel and the logperch lived in the Mississippi River Gorge historically, the habitat is not suitable today because of two dams.

Please join us today, and ask the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to recommend dam removal and river restoration in the Mississippi River Gorge!

2 responses to “Mississippi Gorge Cleaned by Helpful Mussel

  1. 1. what’s the scientific evidence that the muscles will come after removing Ford Dam?
    2. Also, which dams are you removing? both the Ford and riverfall dam? the riverfall dam will never be removed, because it holds Minneapolis together. If removed, the water fall will eat up the river bed and the waterfall will recede, like it receded from Fort Snelling (confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers) all the way to Minneapolis.
    3. the sediment between the dams is thick and toxic. Removing one dam, all the toxin is revealed, and it will stink up the gorge for decades. Dredging and cleaning it will cost millions of dollars. Who’s going to pay for it?
    4. The two dams are holding carps from traveling upriver.
    5. The river pool is supporting many fish and birds. Bald Eagles are thriving. So are cranes, ducks, geese, foxes, all depend on the abundant fish in the pool.
    6. thousands of canoe paddlers, kayakers, rowers and fishermen use the river every day. The dam removal will destroy it all.

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