By John Page Williams
There aren’t many Bay critters I haven’t caught or studied in
my forty-plus years exploring the Bay watershed with CBF.
I realized, though, when asked to write this story, that my
knowledge of mussels was thin. To get me up to speed, I sought
the expertise of CBF’s Virginia Staff Scientist, Dr. Joe Wood, who
shared both his expertise and his enthusiasm.
The word mussel used to make me think of blue, teardrop-shaped shellfish swimming in savory broth. I’ve gathered those
blue mussels for food, but in Downeast Maine, not here in the
Chesapeake. The Bay has its own saltwater mussels, but because
they aren’t as tasty to us, we largely overlook them. More
unnoticed are several dozen freshwater mussel species that live in
upland streams, creeks, and rivers.
KENN Y FLETCHER/CBF STAFF
Native freshwater mussels are
raised for restoration work at
Harrison Lake Fish Hatchery in
Charles City, Virginia.