Fish Help In Restoring WV Mussel Population

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West Virginia fisheries biologists are using fish to help restore mussel populations wiped out by two major chemical spills.

Natural resources officials are hoping to correct the damage wrought by a 1999 chemical spill on the Ohio River near Parkersburg and a 2009 spill on Dunkard Creek north of Morgantown.

Biologist Janet Clayton says most mussel species require a fish host to reproduce successfully. She's charge of the Division of Natural Resources' mussel-restoration efforts.

Biologists take larvae from recently spawned mussels and put them in the gills of the fish.

When the larvae mature, they drop off the fish and sink to the bottom of a holding tank. Biologists then collect the mature larvae and distribute them along the river bottom.