Thursday, 19 July 2012

Endangered Freshwater pearl mussel stronghold decimated

Call for public enquiry
July 2012. Wildlife charity, Buglife - The Invertebrate Conservation Trust, is calling for a public inquiry into the devastating loss of Freshwater pearl mussels in Cumbria.
The largest and healthiest population of Freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) in England has been almost completely destroyed. Water levels in the outflow from Ennerdale Water Reservoir in the River Ehen fell to such low levels that the water became hot and oxygen concentrations dropped to dangerous levels. Up to 90% of the pearl mussels in the affected area were killed
Animals born when Charles Darwin was alive
Matt Shardlow, Buglife CEO said "This is devastating news. The bloated corpses of animals born when Charles Darwin was alive have been floating out of their beds and being swept into the Irish Sea."
The Freshwater pearl mussel is an endangered species protected under national and international legislation and environmental regulators have a duty to ensure that the populations are conserved. The water flow into the River Ehen is controlled by Ennerdale Water reservoir owned by United Utilities.
A public inquiry will enable a full examination of the facts, a clear and open explanation of what went wrong and recommendations for action to take that will hopefully ensure that this and other populations of pearl mussels can recover in safety and thrive again.

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