EnviroScience, Inc. (ES) was awarded a contract through Michael Baker and PennDOT to continue the Hunter Station Bridge (SR 62) Bridge endangered mussel salvage and relocation project in northwestern Pennsylvania over the Allegheny River. The contract is for $760,000 and includes extensive diving, mussel salvage, transport and coordination activities across the U.S, as well as on-site turbidity and construction monitoring to ensure environmental commitments have been met. ES began the first phase of the project in 2015 under a separate project. The project is located in a reach of the Allegheny River that contains the largest known populations of the federally and state endangered Clubshell (Pleurobema clava) and Northern Riffleshell (Epioblasma torulosa rangiana). The project is unique in scale as over 85,000 endangered mussels may be salvaged from under the bridge prior to construction, and relocated to augment or reintroduce the species to various locations across their original range. Relocation areas include streams in IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, KY, WV, and the Seneca Nation of Indians, Salamanca Reservation.
Thanks to the new bridge design that minimized impacts to mussels, and the planned conservation efforts, the impacts to freshwater mussels resulting from the this project are expected to be temporary and will be offset by the augmentation / re-establishment of mussel populations at the relocation sites throughout their historic ranges. The mussel salvage and relocation actions resulting from the project’s large and cooperative mussel recovery effort will hopefully lead to the recovery of the Northern Riffleshell and Clubshell mussels nationally, to a level where they will no longer need the protection of the Endangered Species Act.