9K mussels to help clean DuPage River in Illinois

Updated 5/1/2017 12:49 PM

NAPERVILLE, Ill. -- County forest preserve officials plan to release 9,000 mussels into the DuPage River in the hopes of bolstering the existing population and keeping the waterway clean.

DuPage County Forest Preserve District officials are scheduled to release the mussels into the river's West Branch between May and mid-October at 11 locations along 13 miles of the river between Naperville and Warrenville, the Naperville Sun (http://trib.in/2oPFBD4 ) reported.


Jessi DiMartini, the forest preserve district's aquatic research center coordinator, said the first batch was to be released last weekend but rainfall made conditions unfavorable. She said mussels can live to be over a century old and help the life of a river by filtering out such things as bacteria and algae.

"You don't notice the little creatures under the water, but they're there filtering away," DiMartini said.

The West Branch used to house 15 species of freshwater mussels but is now down to nine. DiMartini said she noted the low number of mussels when she and crews were doing river restoration work.

"I realized we have about nine species of mussels in the West Branch, and that's a good amount, but they're in such low numbers," DiMartini said. "They're just not having a lot of babies."

She said pollutants in run-off water that flows into the river have contributed to the population decline.


Information from: Naperville Sun, http://napervillesun.chicagotribune.com/

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