Mussel relocation will help protect at risk species ahead of bridge work

Mussel relocation will help protect at risk species ahead of bridge work
CALEDONIA—Gina MacVeigh, Aquatic Biologist Specialist and Freshwater Mussel Specialist (left), helps to sort mussels with Freshwater Mussel Specialists Emily Robson and Sam Turner. —Haldimand Press photos by Jillian Zynomirski.
CALEDONIA—Freshwater Mussel Specialist Victoria Tousaw shows the variety of mussel sizes they have been finding.

By Jillian Zynomirski

The Haldimand Press

CALEDONIA—For the next five weeks a group of about 20 Aquatic Field Biologists will be helping with mussel relocation in the Grand River near the Argyle Street Bridge. This work is required to take place ahead of construction to replace the bridge.

“The species at risk are the driving force behind the mussel relocation so the work on the bridge does not damage or harm them,” said Gina MacVeigh, Aquatic Biologist Specialist and Freshwater Mussel Specialist.

The project is headed by Natural Resource Solutions Inc. of Waterloo, where MacVeigh is employed.

The biologists begin with a tactile search of the area upstream, which is about 30 to 60 centimetres deep, depending on where you stand.

“In order to understand the population, we have to search upstream of the bridge to be able to check mussel density and find out how many mussels there are per metre squared,” said MacVeigh. “Then we have an idea of how many mussels we can actually move upstream without overcrowding the population.”

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