Green River Ferry shutdown for mussel relocation 

MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky.- The Green River Ferry will be operating on a limited schedule while dive crews work to remove rare mussel species from the river.

The ferry is will be shut down from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until Wednesday during the mussel relocation project.

The Green River has some of the most diverse and rare populations of freshwater mussels in the world. Specially trained divers are spending hours on the water on Monday looking for the shellfish.

“He just hand digs in the substrate. He moves his hand, sweeps away the sand and gravel. They know what to look for,” said Chad Lewis, malacologist at Lewis Environmental Consulting, LLC.

The mussels are moved to another part of the river where they will be better protected during a six-month long construction project, that will include work on the ferry’s access ramps.

“We have over 50 different species that live here in the park, 10 of those are on the endangered species list. So, it’s very important that we keep our population healthy and thriving in the Green River,” said Molly Schroer, public information officer at Mammoth Cave National Park.

The fan shell is one of the species of mussels that they are trying to protect at the Green River.

“So far, we found 21 species, which is very good diversity for a river. This is kind of a special place. There’s 30 to 40 species in this section of river, and we found three endangered fan shell’s so far which is the reason we’re here doing the project,” said Lewis.

The dive team will re-plant the mussels in the riverbed either above or below the Green River Ferry crossing.

“It’s one of the oldest river systems in the country and in the world. Over time you gain that diversity. This section of river, through Mammoth Cave, has never been impacted the way other rivers have,” said Lewis.

The ferry will re-open temporarily following the relocation project before closing again on June 17.