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We facilitate and partner on project-based learning opportunities deigned to target and solve practical problems. Learn more about these research efforts below.

Mussel Habitat Suitability Study in Upper Bee Branch Creek

The Bee Branch Creek Restoration replaced almost one-mile of storm sewer with a creek and floodplain resembling the original cityscape from approximately 100 years ago. This "daylighting" of the buried Bee Branch Creek in an area of Dubuque formally known as “Frogtown” allows stormwater from flash flooding events to safely move through the area without flooding adjacent properties.

Although resilience to flash flooding is the primary goal of this project, designers and City of Dubuque leadership recognized the opportunity to also bring wildlife and green space back to this mostly urban area of Dubuque.

In 2020 the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, City of Dubuque, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Genoa National Fish Hatchery came together and began a freshwater mussel habitat suitability study and public engagement program focusing on community climate resilience, habitat restoration, and mussel conservation.

This is an exciting opportunity to engage our community in a habitat restoration and enhancement effort 100 years in the making.

As full connectivity to the Mississippi River is restored in 2021, many new questions and community research opportunities await us and our partners in this innovative Bee Branch Greenway Project.

Learn more about the Bee Branch Creek Restoration 

Invasive Species Research (Zebra Mussels)

Zebra Mussels

In 2019 the River Museum hosted a collaborative research study focused on controlling invasive species. This study was led by the U.S. Geological Survey's Center for Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Reclamation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, University of Wisconsin Platteville Engineering Department, and the University of Dubuque Environmental Sciences Department.

The USGS-led study hypothesized that carbon dioxide infusion would reduce settlement of zebra mussel larva in a closed water system (i.e. water treatment facilities, hydroelectric dams). 

Study objectives included:

  • Comparing the efficacy of CO2 infusion at two levels for preventing settlement and inducing mortality of zebra mussel larva in a flow-through system.
  • Evaluating the effects of CO2 infusion on growth and survival of juvenile native mussels.
  • Measuring the effects of CO2 infusion on water quality (D.O. and pH), and chlorophyll concentration.
  • Determining the percentage of carbon recapture (CO2 used and plant biomass produced) for the test system.

After a successful 2019 season, the study was replicated on western reservoirs in 2020. We hope to welcome the USGS back to our campus again soon.