River Clun: Pearl mussel protection project begins

The river Image copyright Shropshire Hills AONB
Image caption The project is taking place on the River Clun, once a haven for protected species

A £360,000 project to help protect critically endangered pearl mussels in Shropshire has begun.

The project, which is being carried out by the Shropshire Hills Area Of Natural Beauty Partnership, is taking place on the River Clun.

Colonies of the protected species were depleted because of habitat changes and inadequate water quality.

The work will take about four years to complete and includes creating or improving sites to establish habitats.

'Provide refuge'

It follows work that was carried out in 2012 to prevent silt getting into the river which was suffocating the species.

Image caption Freshwater mussel populations have declined due to a combination of factors including pearl-fishing, the government's Joint Nature Conservation Committee said

The new project will also repair sites in the river where the mussels can establish habitats.

The partnership said the work would, "provide a... refuge for this critically endangered animal".

WREN Biodiversity Action Fund, the Woodland Trust and the Severn Rivers Trust have funded the project.

The partnership's project officer, Alison Jones, said: "Besides the obvious wildlife benefits, a healthy river corridor and farm woodland delivers a lot more.

"Restoring the river habitats will add to green infrastructure."

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