A Survey of the Freshwater Mussels of the Lower Cumberland River from Barkley Dam Tailwater Downstream to the Ohio River.
MURRAY STATE UNIV KY DEPT OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
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From 9 September through 8 November, 1981, a survey of freshwater mussels Mollusca Bivalvia Unionidae was conducted to determine the species, location, relative density and habitat characteristics of mussels inhabiting the Barkley Dam tailwaters. Boats, equipped with 16 ft. mussel brails, were used to determine the locations and species composition of mussel beds, and scuba divers examined the beds to better sample the mussel fauna and determine sediment characteristics. Proposed dredging and disposal sites were examined to estimate the potential impact of Corps navigation improvement activities upon the mussels. Twenty-one species of mussels in 16 general still survive in the lower Cumberland River. Mussel beds were found only in stable habitats which have probably been undisturbed for many years and which consist of gravel in a firm sandy-clay. Extreme daily fluctuations in discharge through the dam and high silt may have an adverse influence on reproduction and host fish distribution. Because the potential impact of dredging operations on downstream mussel beds is not known, it is recommended that a monitoring program be established to evaluate such impact.