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Moving Mussels (with Video)

Gary J. Wege/USFWS.
Federally endangered Higgins eye pearly mussels

After nearly 20 years of planning, a project has started to save thousands of mussels in the Mississippi River between Moline and Bettendorf. Tuesday a Saint Louis company began re-locating mussels along the route of the new I-74 bridge. 

Heidi Woeber, from the US Fish and Wildlife Service, says it will take about 2 months to gather, sort, and move nearly half a million mussels.
She says they'll be moved to already existing mussel beds upstream from the Quad Cities.

Emily Robins is a malacologist, or mussel expert, for the company Ecological Specialists, that's doing the moving. After their divers gather the mussels, they'll be sorted on shore, counted, and then put back in the river within 24 hours.

They're worth saving because they're an important part of the eco-system.

Twenty-five species of mussels are affected, including 5 that are considered threatened or endangered by state and federal governments. 

Construction of the new I-74 bridge is now scheduled to start in 2018.

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.