Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Rare mussels unearthed in Olentangy State Scenic River

Columbus — In the first survey of its kind in more than three decades, the Ohio DNR (ODNR), Division of Natural Areas and Preserves (DNAP) Scenic Rivers Program has discovered two federally endangered mussel species in the Olentangy State Scenic River. The survey, funded by the Scenic Rivers Program, was conducted this summer.

The last survey was done in 1990. Michael Hoggarth of Otterbein University conducted that survey and the most recent one. He and his team focused on the Olentangy River from the headwaters to the confluence with the Scioto River.

In July, they found two shells of recently deceased freshwater mussels at a location on the Olentangy River in Marion County above Delaware Lake. The shells indicated there may be living specimens of the federally endangered snuffbox Epioblasma triquetra.

When the group returned in September, they found a living specimen of the snuffbox and a freshly dead specimen of the federally endangered rayed bean Villosa fabalis. The last time either was found in this section of the river was at least 60 years ago.

This find will extend the protection of the snuffbox in the Olentangy River north of Franklin County where a freshly dead shell was found some distance below the Delaware Lake dam into Marion County.

“While we were surprised to find these specimens in the Olentangy, the water quality in this section of the river has been maintained beautifully, making this a great habitat for mussels and other creatures,” Hoggarth said.

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