Mussel relocation wraps up in preparation for new I-74 bridge


QUAD CITIES (KWQC) — A project in the works for over 20 years is finally complete. As work on the new I-74 bridge advances, five endangered or threatened species of mussel that live in the Mississippi River, where the new pylons will be placed, had to be moved. The move began earlier this year and included the endangered species, as well as an additional 20 species living in the area, to habitat out of the way of the new bridge.

On November 1, 2016, Aquatic Biologist Emily Robbins with Ecological Specialists, Inc, announced that the crews are officially done with their relocation process. The previous week she says they completed the final Illinois pier, the outfall area, and all three Iowa piers.

Robbins says the mussel abundance was low on the Iowa bank, as they anticipated.

“The riverward two piers were mostly sand and bedrock. Few mussels were present and the divers noted many of them were just laying on the surface. The shoreward pier had some patches of better habitat where we found some mussels, but there were still fairly large areas where mussels were scarce or absent.”

Robbins says they will still be on site for a few more days wrapping things up.

“We spent today pulling up buoys and T&E grids at the relocation sites, and still have a little bit left to do there. We are also going to do some quadrats in each of the 6 density study areas to estimate final post-relocation densities so we can better compare to future years.”

When this is completed, Robbins says they’ll have a lot to pack up.

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