After Century-Long Absence, Freshwater Mussel Found In Kiski River, Armstrong County
Mary Ann Thomas of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review recently reported a Kiski Township, Armstrong County woman's award-winning photograph is evidence that one of the most sensitive indicators of water quality-- the freshwater mussel-- is back in the Kiski River after more than a century.
Renowned scientist Arnold Ortmann noted in a 1909 paper that the Kiski River in Armstrong County was in a “fearful condition” because of pollution from coal mining drainage.
Ortmann, then curator of the Section of Mollusks at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, surveyed for mussels in the early 1900s and reported “in almost all of the drainage basins of the Kiskiminetas fresh-water life is extinct.”
But during an August 2016 river cleanup, Chelsea Walker spied a freshwater mussel as she waded in several feet of water under the Avonmore Bridge to pull out illegally dumped tires.
“It was a treasure amongst the trash,” said Walker, a watershed specialist with the Westmoreland County Conservation District and a volunteer board member of both the Roaring Run and Kiskiminetas watershed associations.
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(Photo: Freshwater mussel in Kiski River, Armstrong County by Chelsea Walker, Watershed Specialist, Westmoreland County Conservation District.)
[Posted: Jan. 17, 2018]
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