(Blount County, TN) EnviroScience, Inc. conducted a presence/absence survey for freshwater mussels in Abrams Creek in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The National Park Service used data from this survey as baseline data to understand the current status of the resident mussel fauna and aid in developing long-term resource management strategies.
The survey used a combination of snorkeling, SCUBA, and un-aided visual inspection techniques to search for the presence of freshwater mussels at 23 sites throughout the lower reach of Abrams Creek. EnviroScience malacologists selected sites using a combination of GIS desktop delineation and rapid, field-based habitat assessments to determine suitable mussel habitat. Semi-qualitative sampling techniques were used at each site to populate a species table, determine observed overall abundance, and calculate catch-per-unit effort.
Data collected were compiled in a comprehensive report for the National Park Service headquarters staff. The report included site mapping, digital field photos, observational and calculated mussel data, and habitat data collected using rapid, field-based habitat assessments.
EnviroScience maintains a hearty staff of malacologists who are all permitted to conduct freshwater mussel surveys. Our experience includes endangered mussel surveys, impact assessments, translocations, mitigation design, biological assessments, expert consultation, and experimental lab and field research on mussels. Further, EnviroScience is one of the few biological firms in the country that is a general member of the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADCI) and offers full-service commercial diving services. Our diving meets the highest standards for safety and efficiency, including those of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) EM385-1-1, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), ADCI, and the U.S. Coast Guard.