I had heard about this from a fisherman and from a Board member who lives a few houses up from the State Ramp.
Do you see them? They are teeney tiny shells. Open and empty.
My guess is the invasive exotic Asian Clam – this is not a mussel and the location of the state boat ramp makes me think it was brought in and I haven’t encountered them before. I have an email into the Massachusetts Weed Watchers Program to get them identified and to get myself trained on exotic invasive species. (If you want to attend a workshop, let me know: InfoMPA@charter.net) In any case, their name doesn’t matter. What matters is they once lived here with the mussels pictured below and now they are dead.
This last photo was taken at the end of the walkway to the left of the boat launch through the water. These are mussel shells which looked to be about 1 1/2 inches long. It is extremely common to see mussels shell 3 – 3 1/2 inches long on the shore in a cache among the rocks or on the underside of a dock after a muskrat has had a feast. But I don’t remember seeing small ones this size.
The cause of death? As Interface’s engineer Stantec points out in a March 4th letter to SCC concerning our gone and severly declined spring peeper and bullfrog populations in 4 cove areas, the same holds true with our mussel population… “Stantec is not aware of any on-going studies or reports documenting amphibian populations around the reservoir. We are also not aware of any documented report from any local, state or federal agency linking a decline in amphibian populations to the lower water levels from this spring.”
Okay. How about an independent study, and winter drawdown…
Dated September 16, 2008, the MPA presented written testimony to the Sutton Conservation Commission siting 2003 recommendations from Lee Lyman of Lycott Environmental with respect to Interface’s winter drawdown for Manchaug Pond which read:
“Gradually begin mid-September to early October to ‘allow certain aquatic organisms such as fresh water mussels, crayfish, turtles and amphibians to migrate to deeper portions of the water body to over-winter.'”
The 2008 drawdown began the second week of December just before the hearvy rains on the 13th. Too late for the slow moving mussels and clams. Manchaug Pond is also home to crayfish, turtles and amphiblians…
If you notice anything out-of-the-ordinary, any adverse impact to the lake ecosystem, notify the Sutton and Douglas Conservation Commissions.
Further, the state Generic Environmental Impact Report can also be referenced for information on drawdowns: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/waterSupply/lakepond/geir.htm