There are many reasons for saving freshwater mussels, here are just a few.

1. Animals like the raccoon, muskrat, and otter eat freshwater mussels. If freshwater mussels disappear the animals will have to look for other food.


2. Freshwater mussels help clean the water in which they live. When a freshwater mussel eats it "breaths in" the water and takes out some of the bad or harmful stuff in the water, leaving behind cleaner water for us and all the animals to enjoy.

3. Freshwater mussels don't like changes to their environment or ecosystem (where they live). Constructing a dam on a river or removing lots of sand, gravel (rocks the size of marbles), and cobble (rocks the size of baseballs) from a stream is an example of an environmental or ecological change. If too many changes happen too quickly the freshwater mussel will not survive. When freshwater mussels begin to disappear, scientists start to look at what changes were made to their environment or ecosystem. In other words, scientists use freshwater mussels as bioindicators. A bioindicator is what scientists call an animal that tells us, by disappearing or dying, if there is something wrong with their environment or ecosystem. The scientists can then try to fix the bad changes in the environment and help the freshwater mussels survive.


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