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Volunteers needed to save stranded mussels

DeHaven seawall 2009By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@www.southwesttimes.com

With the Claytor Lake drawdown now taking place, volunteers are needed Saturday to help save mussels that have become stranded on shore.

Friends of Claytor Lake (FOCL) is joining other organizations Saturday for a mussel salvage event, beginning at 9 a.m. Participants should meet at Claytor Lake State Park Marina meeting facility or at DeHaven Park on Owens Road.

Appalachian Power Co. (APCo) is allowing the lake level to be dropped three feet through Nov. 15 so lake property owners can clean up debris, make dock repairs and install or maintain shoreline erosion control. However, in so doing, mussels become stranded on the shoreline, leaving them susceptible to predators, drying out and extreme temperature changes.

APCo, which operates the dam, proposed eliminating three-foot drawdowns during its most recent re-licensing due to the impact on the pistolgrip mussel population. However, a mitigation plan that has volunteers comb the shoreline to return the mussels to the water enabled the drawdowns to continue.

APCo, Pulaski County, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Department of Environmental Quality are organizing Saturday’s mussel salvage, along with FOCL.

Property owners are encouraged to help salvage mussels along their own shoreline.

Contact Laura Bullard at 540-392-3055 or sunnyside@psknet.com.

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