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OR&R Scientist Emeritus Participates in Puget Sound Mussel Watch

JANUARY 27, 2020 — On the evening of January 22, 2020, retired OR&R biologist Alan Mearns joined members of the Snohomish County Marine Resources Committee (MRC) in recovering mussel cages at three intertidal sites in Edmonds.

Two people looking at a mussel cage in the dark.
Recovering mussel cages. Image credit: NOAA.

The mussel cages were deployed during night-time minus tides in late October, 2019. Each contained net-bags of several dozen mussels donated by Ian Jefferds at Penn Cove Shellfish LLC. The mussels are on their way to the Northwest Fisheries Science lab in Seattle for analysis of chemical contaminants. 

NOAA has used mussels and oysters for decades to track pollutants. These three-site deployments are part of nearly 90 deployed in late 2019 by citizen science volunteers at sites from Olympia to the U.S.-Canada border. This third biennial Puget Sound-wide, citizen-science supported, mussel watch deployment campaign, funded in part by EPA and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to document sources of chemical contaminants in Puget Sound. Contaminants measured include hydrocarbons (PAHs), organochlorines, fire retardants, pesticides, trace elements and others. Results will be available from WDFW later this year. 

For further information, contact Alan.Mearns@noaa.gov.

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People work around a mussel cage in the dark.
Recovering mussel cages. Image credit: NOAA.
Last updated Feb. 3, 2020