Pearl mussels 31/8/2006 - Conservation of habitats of pearl mussels in Belgium
The project aimed to restore and conserve the pearl mussel populations in the Rulles, SÃ»re, Vierre and Our basins, in Belgium. The project provided a detailed understanding of the pearl mussel and its habitat and implemented actions to foster the development of the populations. Water quality was also monitored through 200 stations and two detailed studies for the quality of the sediment were carried out. The project then implemented a series of management initiatives to tackle problems in key target areas. A key element was the erection of 76 km of fencing, construction of ten wooden bridges and installation of 119 drinking troughs to prevent damage to riverbanks, disruption of the riverbed and trampling of the mussels by livestock. Deciduous riverine forests were also restored across 16 ha of riverbank in order to provide shade and ensure the cool temperatures needed by the mussels in the summer. Conservation status was applied to more than 230 ha of the river basin, restricting land use and certain activities such as fishing. Furthermore, all the actions were carried out within one overall strategy and all the different sectors of activity â€“ local authorities, water authorities, anglers, famers and forestry workers â€“ were actively involved.