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Study: Mussel population reproducing near Eugene

December 14, 2018

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — A recent study found a large population of mussels that live in the Willamette River near a Eugene park is reproducing.

The Register-Guard reported Thursday that a team combed the bottom of the river over the summer near Maurie Jacobs Park to estimate the population and age of western pearlshell.

A youthful population of these shellfish, which can live more than a century, is an indicator that the river is healthy.

Although the team failed to find juvenile mussels, it did find four mussels close to juvenile size. The discovery, combined with evidence that the population skewed younger and has a low mortality rate, led the team to conclude the population was viable.

That was better news than a 2017 survey conducted at the confluence of the Willamette and Long Tom rivers south of Corvallis, that found no mussels close to juvenile age.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com