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We assessed the effectiveness of the western pearl mussel (Margaritifera falcata, Gould, 1850) as a bioindicator of aquatic system health. Fifty-years ago a large dredge mining operation for columbite-tantalite ores [(Fe,Mn)(Nb,Ta)2O6] disturbed a substantial portion of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River headwaters in Idaho. The disturbance likely increased concentrations of dissolved metals at the time. To evaluate the potential long-term impacts, if any, concentrations of Fe, Mg, Mn, and Zn in shell and soft tissues of western pearl mussels, collected from five reaches in Bear Valley Creek, were analyzed. We quantified the partitioning and bioaccumulation with respect to age of the four metals in the shell, gills...