The Memphis District has a team of scientific divers experienced in qualitative and quantitative freshwater mussel surveys and aquatic habitat investigations. The team conducts surveys in large and small rivers and various aquatic habitats throughout the country. On July 7, the dive team performed a survey in Iron Mines Creek, in Marked Tree, Arkansas, as part of an environmental impact assessment for a creek cleanout project.
The team’s mussel surveys help minimize project impact on federally endangered and threatened freshwater mussel species. The purpose of the Iron Mines Creek survey was to collect and catalogue the types of species present and to determine whether the federally endangered fat pocketbook mussel was present.
Team members use surface supplied air or SCUBA operations, often in zero visibility, to survey for threatened and endangered freshwater mussels and other aquatic organisms. The dive team has the ability to work in a variety of environmental conditions, including cold weather or degraded aquatic environments.
The Memphis District Dive Team offers its services to other government agencies and can schedule and complete smaller surveys within a week’s time (depending on distance, weather, and other environmental factors). As biologists, they can perform data analysis, generate survey reports, as well as all of the required Endangered Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act documentation a project may require.