A cluster of rare and environmentally threatened freshwater mussels has been carefully relocated from a section of the Canning River (Djarlgarra) for protection ahead of works on the METRONET Thornlie-Cockburn Link Project.
An environmental survey undertaken before works began on new bridges in the Thornlie area identified the small group of Carter’s Freshwater Mussels on the river’s north bank, and the need to relocate them to avoid potential impacts from vibrations during piling.
In the presence of Aboriginal observers, ecologists carefully removed the mussels by hand and released them the same day into a suitable habitat further up the river.
The release involved slow placement into sediments at similar depths from which the mussels were taken, and Global Positioning System (GPS) details of their location were recorded for future reference.
NEWest Alliance Environment and Sustainability Manager Martin von Kaschke said the project places high priority on protecting the environment and strictly adheres to environmental requirements.
“Western Australia has a unique and diverse range of flora and fauna and we work hard to minimise the construction impacts of our project on the environment,” he said.
The mussels are the only native freshwater mussel found in the south west of Western Australia and studies have shown their range has almost halved in less than 50 years, mainly due to salinity and reduced water flow from a drying climate.
The METRONET Sustainability Strategy is committed to conserving and protecting natural ecosystems and resources.