Group searches for rare freshwater mussel near Shediac
Brook floater mussels are considered endangered in the United States
The Shediac Bay Watershed Association is looking for a rare fresh water mussel around Saint-Philippe that was spotted in the area in 2005.
The brook floater population has dwindled in the United States, making the mussel's home in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia an important stronghold.
Rémi Donelle, the manager of the Shediac Bay Watershed Association, said a few dozen of the rare mussels were found in the Shediac area in 2005 when they were last studied.
"We are hoping to find some, we should,” Donelle said.
“It is a rare mussel, so there was a few found in the 2005 study, so we're hoping to find, at least on some sites, this rare mussel."
Donelle is using an unconventional looking device to find the rare mussels. He has a black garbage can with plexiglass taped to the bottom.
It may look odd, but it does allow Donelle to search for the brook floaters.
However, Donnelle said the watershed association hasn't found any brook floaters yet this summer.
"We don't know if that's because of change in the habitat or if it's been misidentified in the past or if we just haven't seen it yet," he said.
Donelle said the rare mussel is considered an endangered species in parts of the United States and it's being considered for the species of concern list in Canada.
But Donelle said he hopes the mussel turns up in the Shediac area. He said that would be a sign of healthy water systems and it could increase the chance of the brook floater’s survival.
If others find these mussels, the watershed association's manager has some simple advice.
“If they do see mussels just leave them there, they can live really long, they can live a few hundred years if they are undisturbed, they would be edible, but they wouldn't be good,” Donelle said.
If the rare mussels are found, the watershed association will start work on habitat protection and restoration in the fall.