Question: What is the status of the Metzger Marsh restoration project? Was construction completed in November as planned?
Answer: The project is virtually complete except for a pump house presently under construction. It is expected that this last task will be completed by April 17, 1997.
Question: Last year you indicated that it would take 3-5 years for the vegetation to become established and after that the water exchange/fish passage structure would be opened and after two more years an assessment of the project's success will be made. Am I to understand that we will have no idea whether this has been a success or not for about seven years as no monitoring is planned at the site?
Answer: Due to the installation of a temporary "dewatering pump"
to control water levels prior to completion of the fish passage structure,
the project is on or slightly ahead of schedule. U.S. Geological Survey
staff are currently monitoring and more is planned in the years ahead.
In addition, monitoring is an ongoing activity by refuge staff to gauge
vegetation, and thus fish and wildlife response. The Service anticipates
some indication of project success much sooner than seven years from now.
Question: What success have you had with your strategies to protect native unionid mussels from zebra mussel infestations?
Answer: Several approaches for protecting native mussels are
being implemented on an experimental basis by coalitions of interested
organizations and State and Federal Government agencies, including the
Service. In the Ohio and Upper Mississippi Rivers, native mussels are being
reared in national fish hatcheries to ensure that sufficient individuals
of each impacted species are available once zebra mussel populations decline
or are controlled. Mussels in open waters are periodically cleaned of zebra
mussel encrustations and left in place. Efforts are underway to maintain
zebra mussel-free water bodies, such as the St. Croix River, MN/WI, to
serve as refugia for native mussels. All of these approaches have achieved