Congressman Morgan Griffith toured the college’s Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Center this spring to see firsthand the research going on and to learn about the long-term project of cultivating endangered mussels and planting them in their native rivers to revitalize those habitats. Griffith was briefed on the success of the conservation efforts, the life cycle of mussels, and how the project is restoring habitats in the coalfields.

In attendance were Restoration Biologist Jess Jones, who co-directs the center, and his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partners Supervisory Biologist Susan Lingenfelser and Field Supervisor Cindy Schulz, as well as Dean Paul Winistorfer and Professor Eric Hallerman. Several other faculty and graduate students provided background on the restoration programs and how they are conserving the Upper Tennessee River Basin biodiversity, especially in the Clinch and Powell rivers of southwestern Virginia.