- Pearls in Peril
- Project Objectives
The project objectives are:
- To RESTORE the habitat of freshwater pearl mussels and salmonids in selected river catchments within Great Britain.
- To SECURE the long-term survival of existing freshwater pearl mussel populations and prevent their further degradation.
- To COMMUNICATE with local, national and international audiences to raise awareness of freshwater pearl mussel conservation issues.
1. RESTORING HABITAT
The primary objective of the project is to restore habitats, allowing existing pearl mussel populations to flourish. Habitat restoration will benefit both mussels and salmonids, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and trout (Salmo trutta), on which the pearl mussel lifecycle is dependent.
Actions will include:
a) Better protection and management of river banks by:
- promoting and facilitating the use of suitable agri-environment schemes by land managers.
- using these schemes to implement riparian tree planting and fencing of river banks to improve bank stability and reduce silt input into the water course.
b) In-stream and riparian restoration works
- identify the in-stream restoration works that will most benefit pearl mussels and salmonids.
c) Introduce native riparian woodlands in suitable areas
- man-made drainage ditches will be managed to reduce silt and nutrient run-off and improve water quality.
d) Assessment of pollution sources
- an assessment of potential pollution sources will be undertaken to establish where actions can be implemented to reduce nutrient and silt inputs.
e) Wetland creation
- small ponds or wetlands will be created where appropriate to intercept enriched run-off before it reaches the river.
2. SECURING POPULATIONS
Where existing populations of pearl mussel are at risk of being lost entirely, we will focus on securing these populations. Actions will include:
a) Encystment of salmonids
- In the River Ehen, where pearl mussel populations are too small for recovery to be guaranteed, artificially attaching wild juvenile salmonids with local pearl mussel glochidia will be implemented.
Communicating about freshwater pearl mussels will help raise awareness and encourage people to protect existing populations. Actions include:
a) Pearls in the classroom; an education programme:
- promoting awareness of the freshwater pearl mussel amongst the younger generation.
b) Project dissemination to a range of audiences
- raising awareness of the actions taken during the project, and how they can be applied more widely.