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Press release: for immediate release

Watershed Council offers new guide to freshwater mussels free to nature enthusiasts, professionals, towns, resource agencies

Greenfield, MA. April 16, 2008. The Connecticut River Watershed Council has just published Freshwater Mussels and the Connecticut River Watershed, by Ethan Nedeau. This exhaustively researched and beautifully illustrated guide to mussels found in the Connecticut River basin is a welcome tool for resource agencies, conservation commissions, biologists, and schools with active ecological studies programs.

“The Connecticut River Watershed Council is proud to partner with Ethan on this publication,” stated Executive Director Chelsea Gwyther. “I hope this guide leads to better understanding and identification of these interesting creatures and better protections for the land and water that sustains all of us.”

Twelve species of freshwater mussels occur in the watershed, and eight of them receive state or federal protection due to their rarity. The first half of the book focuses on the biology and ecology of freshwater mussels, the status of each species and relevant threats, and steps we can all take to protect and restore mussels and the Connecticut River itself. The second half of the book profiles each mussel species—including how to identify them, specifics of their biology and ecology, their range within the watershed, and specific conservation concerns. There are crisp pictures of each mussel’s shell, as well as habitat photos, river maps showing the reach of known habitats, and beautiful photographs of live mussels.

Ethan Nedeau is the principal of Biodrawversity LLC, an environmental consulting and communications company based in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has conducted freshwater mussel studies throughout the Connecticut River watershed and New England. He conceived of this book as a way to introduce people of all backgrounds to an important piece of the aquatic biodiversity of the Connecticut River basin. Ethan wrote, “The vitality of freshwater mussel populations is inextricably linked to decisions of individual landowners, citizens, town governments, and other people who may not even be aware that freshwater mussels exist.” Nedeau hopes it will bring more attention to protecting aquatic habitats and educate people about the link between a healthy landscape and healthy lakes and rivers.

Due to the expense of publishing the book, supplies are limited. The Connecticut River Watershed Council is offering single copies of Freshwater Mussels of the Connecticut River Watershed for free to anyone willing to pick up their copy at the Greenfield (MA) or Middletown (CT) offices. A shipping fee of $5.00 is charged for any mailed copies; CRWC will mail a single copy to each requester and those wishing to obtain additional copies should make a special request. Please contact CRWC at www.ctriver.org or (413) 772-2020 ext 207 to request a copy.

The book was published with financial assistance from the following river interests and organizations: New Hampshire Fish and Game; Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation; The Nature Conservancy; Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife; New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Connecticut River Joint Commissions; Connecticut DEP; Tighe & Bond; The Northeast Utilities System; and The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation.

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For press information contact: Chelsea Gwyther, CRWC Executive Director (413) 772-2020 ext. 202; cgwyther@ctriver.org; Ethan Nedeau, Biodrawversity LLC (413) 253-6561; ethannedeau@comcast.net