King 5: Divers monitoring freshwater mussels

King 5 covered the Squaxin Island Tribe’s freshwater shellfish surveys earlier this week:

There’s an important research project underway below the surface of the quiet Little Skookum Creek, south of Shelton.

Ripples moving up the creek are the first signs of something heading upstream. Moments later dark human figures come into view, moving slowly face down in the water. Three biologists with the Squaxin Island Tribe are snorkeling up the creek searching the bottom for small black shells.

“We don’t know much about freshwater mussels,” explains Eric Sparkman, a shellfish biologist with the Tribe. “Nobody does.