Huntington District's Water Quality Team, EC-GW-W cooperated with the WV DNR, WV DEP, and the USFWS downstream of Sutton Lake on the Elk River to maximize opportunities related to the shutdown of the outflow for the scheduled PI. Flow was shut down at the dam in order to allow inspections of the tunnels and outlet structure by USACE personnel. Staff from the separate state and federal resource agencies worked together to conduct both fish surveys and mussel assessments downstream of the dam. The combination of the shutdown and the surveys drew a crowd and allowed a great opportunity for outreach to our stakeholders.
Like the fishery of the Elk River, the native mussel community contains a diverse group of organisms that also includes Federally Endangered species. The resource agencies were concerned about mussel mortality due to exposure from the receding waters of the shutdown. As a result, mussels were assessed (WV DNR, USFWS, and USACE) at multiple locations downstream of the dam. The multi-agency team located very few exposed mussels and found that significant mussel beds downstream were not exposed.