Mussel Woman: Biologist Passes Along Pearls of Wisdom About Threatened Mussels

Aug 5, 2019

Biologist Janet Clayton has studied freshwater mussels for much of her 30-year career.
Credit Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley Resource

Janet Clayton is standing thigh-deep in a back channel of the Elk River. Clad in a wetsuit and knee pads, the silver-haired biologist with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources reaches into a bright orange mesh bag submerged in water.

Inside are a half dozen mussels she plucked from the rocky river bottom.

“This is called a long solid,” Clayton says. An earthy colored shell about the size of a computer mouse sits in the palm of her hand. “As it gets older it gets really long.”


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