Copper-based control: zebra mussel settlement and nontarget impacts

This project will develop population-level management techniques to reduce the impacts of zebra mussels. The treatments are designed to target the early life stages of zebra mussels and prevent successful settlement. The project includes three main objectives:

  • Evaluate the efficacy of low-dose copper treatments to control zebra mussel populations by targeted suppression of the early life stages
  • Evaluate the impacts that low-dose copper treatments have on algal biomass and native zooplankton, benthic invertebrates, fish, and mussels
  • Provide transferable results by collecting the input parameters required for EPA’s Biotic Ligand Model for copper toxicity

Once complete, these treatments may be useful for population level management or eradication in small water bodies.


Researchers conducted field work in the summer of 2019. Buoy and settlement samplers were placed and EarthTec QZ was applied. Zebra mussels, as well as native mussels and native fish species, were placed in the treated and control bays. EarthTec QZ was applied and monitored for ten days. Data analysis is now underway.

Learn more about this project:

Project manager: Jim Luoma  

Funded by: Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources with additional support from the State of Minnesota, the Fletcher Family Foundation, Bay Lake Improvement Association, Pelican Lakes Association of Crow Wing County, USGS, and Hennepin County.

Project start date: 2018

Estimated project end date: 2020

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