Written by David Hammond, PhD and Gavin Ferris, Ecologist
Low doses of EarthTec QZ ionic copper used in effort to eradicate quagga mussels from an entire Pennsylvania lake
Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha Pallas, 1771) and quagga mussels (D. rostriformis bugensis Andrusov, 1898), known collectively as dreissenid mussels, have established themselves as nuisance aquatic invasive species throughout many of the major watersheds of North America. The resulting environmental and economic damage have been extreme, earning them recognition among the continent’s most damaging aquatic invasive species (IUCN 2018; Western Governors’ Association 2018; Fetini 2010). Native to the Caspian Sea region of Eastern Europe, dreissenids were first detected in North America in 1985 in Lake St Clair (Claudi and Mackie 1994), which is located between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. In the subsequent 5 years they extirpated 12 species of native mussels by physically smothering and out- competing them for food (Nalepa et al. 1996). Other native mollusks also suffered massive reductions in range and population (Nalepa et al. 1996).
Economic impacts from invasive dreissenid mussels have been particularly severe in water treatment and power generation facilities, where prompt and effective protection against biofouling is often essential. Estimates of the economic impacts from invasive mussels vary widely, with several sources citing costs to the Great Lakes region in the range of