Developing rapid response protocols for zebra mussel treatment
In partnership with the USGS, the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center is launching a new project to develop a set of rapid response protocols for treating localized zebra mussel infestations. The protocols, which will take water temperature into account for the first time, will provide managers with a critical support tool to swiftly select the correct molluscicide, determine the treatment concentration, and determine the treatment duration.
The project will also help determine the probability of treatment success and estimate the treatment costs. Four molluscicides will be evaluated – Zequanox, Earthtec QZ, potassium chloride, and niclosamide.
Previous studies have shown that fluctuating water temperatures can be a major factor in determining the zebra mussels' sensitivity to toxicants. For example, Earthtec QZ is a copper-based product that has been found to effectively kill zebra mussels, but water temperature influences the toxicity of the copper ions.
"This project seeks to eliminate those unknowns about dose and duration under various water temperatures," said lead researcher Jim Luoma, a fisheries biologist with the USGS's Upper Midwest Environmental Services Center.
"This will be an important support tool for use in those situations by the Minnesota DNR, watershed districts, and lake management professionals," said MAISRC's invertebrate expert, Dr. Michael McCartney. "Early detection and response within the first year after discovery is apt to be our best management option; populations are small and mussels are likely to be localized to small areas that can be treated and have a shot at preventing explosive population growth."
There have been two early detection and rapid response eradication attempts in Minnesota, on Christmas Lake and Lake Independence, where the infestation was believed to be highly localized. Both of these eradication attempts were hindered by a lack of water temperature-specific protocols, particularly regarding the choice of molluscicide and the dosing regimens as water temperatures were decreasing. Learn more about zebra mussels here.