CRITICALLY endangered fresh water pearl mussels are set to benefit from more than £215,000 of funding over the next four years to help improve their habitat in the River Clun.

The River Clun has been designated a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) due to the population of fresh water pearl mussels but without immediate action the river’s population could be extinct in just 25 years.

A grant from WREN, a not-for-profit business that awards grants generated by landfill tax through sites owned by FCC Environment, will enable the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership to extend the lifespan of the current pearl mussel population and aid the recovery of other species by enhancing the river’s habitat.

“The WREN funding will go towards conserving pearl mussel habitat, through continued control of livestock access and management of river habitats,” said Mike Kelly of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership.

“It will also help to manipulate other recovery sites, in order for relocation of the mussels to take place.”

Further measures will also be taken right across the River Clun catchment area to address the root causes of the current unfavourable conditions, such as fine sediment and other pollutants from upstream.

The River Clun Recovery Project is one of 12 recipients of WREN’s Biodiversity Action Fund to receive a share of the fund this year, totalling more than £2.7 million. Other organisations to benefit include the Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Buglife.

Conservation, biodiversity or wildlife projects that are interested in WREN’s Biodiversity Action Fund can check their eligibility by visiting The next deadline for applications is January 31 2015.


The conservation team helping endangered fresh water pearl mussels in the River Clun.

Rare pearl mussels.