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In-Situ Bioassay Response of Freshwater Mussels to Acid Mine Drainage Pollution and its Mitigation

Clayton, Janet L., Miller, Shelly A., Menendez, Raymond
Southeastern naturalist 2015 v.14 no.sp7 pp. 261-275
acid mine drainage, bioassays, freshwater, limestone, mining, mussels, neutralization, pH, pollution control, rivers, runoff, sediments, species dispersal, water quality, watersheds, West Virginia
Many West Virginia watersheds have been affected by mining activities. Runoff water, known as acid mine drainage (AMD), is acidic and tends to have a high metal content. Over the last several decades, various strategies have been employed to remediate the conditions caused by AMD and restore water quality to levels that support diverse native organisms. Located in the Canaan Valley, Tucker County, WV, the Blackwater River and its tributaries have been the focus of restoration efforts. Limestone application has proved to be among the most successful treatments to raise pH and ameliorate the effects of AMD. Our objectives were to use the introduced freshwater mussel Strophitus undulatus (Creeper) in bioassays to determine the effects of AMD and AMD neutralization on the health and survival of individuals and the potential dispersal of the species. In addition, we sought to determine the effects on mussels of limestone sediments that accumulate as a result of water treatments.