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The bottom fauna of western Lake Erie has changed dramatically over the past 50 years in response to environmental degradation and biological invasions. In 1953, low dissolved oxygen reduced the biodiversity of that fauna, especially burrowing mayflies and freshwater mussels (Unionidae). Canada and the United States signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972. By 1982, over 7 billion dollars were spent to improve wastewater treatment plants in the Great Lakes Basin. To assess how the bottom fauna responded to pollution abatement measures, we studied the distribution, abundance, and diversity of bottom fauna in western Lake Erie in 1982 and compared our findings to those of Carr and Hiltunen (1965). Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) invaded Lake Erie in 1986 and greatly altered these waters. For perspective, we also compared our results to bottom fauna present at the same stations in 1930 (by reference to data in Carr and Hiltunen, 1965) and reviewed the responses of burrowing mayflies and freshwater mussels to the zebra mussel invasion.