The freshwater mussels are at risk because of the coal mining, transportation and agriculture in the areas around the river system, so the health of the watershed is reflected by the health of its wildlife. The depletion or extinction of any animal population adversely affects the entire ecosystem, so the watershed on a large scale will be negatively impacted if it continues to be polluted, leading to the demise of the freshwater mussels (and probably other species as well).
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