Effective passage for fish and other aquatic life is a key part of maintaining clean water for drinking and irrigation. The dynamic relationship between fish and freshwater mussels is one example of why connectivity matters.
In the same way that pollinators support terrestrial ecosystems, freshwater mussels provide essential ecosystem services for rivers and lakes including water filtration, habitat stabilization, and nutrient cycling. A single mussel can filter up to 15 gallons of water a day, reducing concentrations of algae, bacteria, diseases, heavy metals, and pharmaceuticals, as well as industrial runoff.
Mussel larvae attach to the gills of a host fish where they can filter nutrients and complete their development before dropping to the river or lake bed in a new location.