Freshwater Clams in Shell Shock

by Christine Graef

Under seige from zebra mussels, habitat loss and pollution, this species is 'the most endangered animal group in North America'

BRASHER FALLS, N.Y.–As the snow melted this spring, and the sun slowly warmed the waters of the St. Regis River, freshwater clams crept from the sands and substrata where they burrow while winter snows blanket upstate New York.

There are still populations of the pearly creatures along the St. Lawrence River and its tributaries at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Empty shells among underwater rocks and along the St. Regis's banks, near the footprints of raccoons and coyotes that snack on mussels, show their presence.

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