"That dam clam" is a registered trademark of Greg Aronica, Senior assistant producer for the Bobby Bare show.

It's the Snuffbox Mussel.


I must plead near total ignorance of this important member of the Grand Rivers' diverse life system.  If I have found one yesterday I might have pried it open looking for a Pearl, or just tossed it across the water counting the skips.

On the other hand, in this kind of weather it's unlikely you'd find me diving in the Grand River.

I first heard of these things a few weeks ago when enviornmentalists discovered them below the dam they are trying to remove in Lyons. 

Would it suprise you to know That Dam Clams will have to be removed before work can proceed in Lyons?

Now the discovery of That Dam Clam may delay the dam removal in Grand Rapids.  

Educating myself, I have learned That Dam Clam is really the Snuff Box Mussel, a "rarish" species.  Wikipedia puts it this way.


"GX" is as dead as a Dodo Bird.  G5 is as common as a house fly, and G3 is at the plentiful end of the "at risk" scale.  There are only slightly more Snuff Box Mussels than there are Senior Assistant Producers for the Bobby Bare show.

As best as I can figure the ranking, it works like this.  If you went snorkling in the Grand River 100 times, you would see a Snuff Box Mussel 21 times.  That's considered rare.  (who knew?)

Anyway.. now these people have found five  (exactly five) of them in the Grand River between Ann Street and 131 and they will have to be re-located before any work can ever be done to remove the old dams on the river in Grand Rapids.  These experts say they marked the locations of the clams well so they can be found again.  I wonder what clam markers cost?  But that's just me.

I wonder where you move those clams so they don't hold up a dam project somewhere else some day?  

Just for example, if someone talked about removing the dam in Rockford, what are the chances someone would find That Dam Clam in the water below that dam?

Would you like to know something else about That Dam Clam?   In reproduces when the females lure in a little perch. 

I have no idea how they do that.  Maybe they tell the perch they have the inside scoop on the season finale of Greys Anatomy.  Anyway, the clam suddenly rears up and clamps down on the perches head!  Then That Dam Clam lays it's eggs in the perchs gills!

How would you like to be a perch and have to go home and explain that one?

Anyway, that's what going on, and why we may  have those dams on Grand River a little longer than we figured.