Creation of survey and monitoring protocols, and development of a research program for studying the effectiveness of zebra mussel pesticide treatment efforts

In partnership with the Minnesota DNR Invasive Species program, MAISRC provided a description of the Pilot Project Program and the application process to obtain a permit for treating newly infested lakes, available online here.

Along with this, we have authored two sets of monitoring protocols. The first set is known as “baseline protocols,” and these are used to gather information in order to prepare a permit application. Baseline protocols are available online here. We have also completed the final working draft of the post-treatment protocols. These are not available online, but can be obtained from the Invasive Species Specialist in the region in which a lake that is a candidate for treatment is located. Lakeshore residents and other citizens interested in initiating a treatment attempt start the process by contacting their Invasive Species Specialist, who will work with them to help facilitate the work that must be done to fulfill the post-treatment monitoring requirements set by permit. Post-treatment monitoring must be done for 3 years.

At the conclusion of this project, a need for post-treatment monitoring protocols in the design of surveys for adult mussels both within and outside the treatment area was identified. This is being addressed by another MAISRC project, Cost-effective monitoring of lakes newly infested with zebra mussels.

Pilot work in Minnesota has shown that starry stonewort populations and growth patterns of can vary between years and between lakes in different locations. These patterns suggest that how starry stonewort invades a lake could be influenced by climatological factors such as ice-out date, growing season length, and average water temperature. If this is the case, then developing effective management strategies for starry stonewort requires a deeper and more specific understanding of how climate change will influence the invasion dynamics of the species. 

The project includes:

  • An empirical study of starry stonewort invasion dynamics in nine lakes across latitudinal gradients in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana.
  • Interviews with AIS managers and decision-makers in Wiscnsin, Minnesota and Indiana to examine invasive species management perceptions and preferences as they relate to starry stonewort.
  • Modeling starry stonewort invasion patterns under a range of climate and management scenarios. 

This project will provide practical information on the ecology of starry stonewort, a summary of current stakeholder preferences around starry stonewort management, as well as an evaluation of optimal management strategies.

The study is one component of a larger research project that is funded by the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative administered by the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University


Project manager: Mike McCartney

Funded by: Clean Water Fund

Project state date: 2015

Project end date: 2016