Mussels Relocated During Williamsburg Dam Removal
A team of volunteers is expected to help mussels in the East Fork of the Little Miami River find new homes Saturday. They're being relocated as work begins on removing the lowhead dam in Williamsburg.
Becky McClatchey, natural resource specialist with the Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District, says the mussels are an important part of the river's ecosystem.
"The East Fork has a pretty rich population of mussel species historically," she says. "We see a lot of diversity of mussels, some state endangered. That's another real benefit of taking this dam out, that over time we'll see improvements in habitat and hopefully we'll see these mussel populations rebound."
Mussels help with water quality as well, improving the overall health of the waterway. These mussels will be moved upstream, and some will be transferred to the Mill Creek.
Lowhead dams are dangerous because they create deadly water circulation patterns that trap victims underwater. McClatchey says Williamsburg no longer depends on the dam and nearby reservoir to the dam is being removed.
"They'll notch the dam this weekend and let the river level drop and we'll relocate the mussels," she says. "Then the following week they'll go in and do full removal of the structure."