On a plate, mussels can be delicious. In a water system, they can leave a bad taste in a water manager's mouth.
The state of Georgia—suffering under severe drought conditions—is suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the organization's increased water flows from Lake Lanier (the Atlanta area's main source of drinking water). The Corps says failing to increase the flows will put endangered sturgeon and mussels at risk (see “Come hell and low water,” page 13). Gov. Sonny Perdue believes the needs of his constituents should come before those of the crustaceans.
In Appleton, Wis., plans to extend a water main across the Fox River are on hold while the river is surveyed for purple wartyback mussels. The city's Utilities Committee voted in mid-December to recommend spending $59,000 to survey for the endangered shellfish to determine if drilling should be performed at a more suitable depth. Public works director Paula Vandehey says if they find any of the 5-inch mussels, they would have to be moved by hand.