"Mussels are reliable indicators of water quality, since they’re particularly sensitive to aquatic changes. Mussels are filter feeders that help keep the water clean for all who depend on it, and their disappearance often signals that other aquatic plants and animals are at risk as well.
"Think of it this way: mussels are the mighty Mr. Cleans of the waterways. They try to keep the house tidy. But the increased intensity and the toxicity of the filth has been making them sick; and there’s not a lot of replacement labor. If they’re not around, the cleaning isn’t going to get done – and just like at home, the cleaning sure ain’t gonna do itself. Let’s hope it’s not too late to offer the sick some decent healthcare.
"Fortunately, the important role mussels play is no secret and many are working on their behalf. For example, the National Park Service has stepped up to help recovery, and since 2000, the Tennessee Aquarium Research Institute has propagated more than a hundred thousand native freshwater mussels, providing for their release into the Conasauga River basin at the Institute’s hatchery."
Check out the video below. While saving endangered species might not be at the top of everyone's priority list, I bet clean water is near the top of a lot of people's. Efforts to repopulate mussels directly affect our water supply, which not only affects our drinking water but recreational uses of the water - like bass fishing (5:30 in the video). Wonder whether we know anyone who would care about that?