Conservation Training

Lessons learned and alternative management

January 19, 2023

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Location: Online

Angelique Dahlberg
Title: Lessons learned from open-water dreissenid mussel control projects in North America

Description: Dreissenid mussel control projects have been ongoing since about 2004, yet the methods used and degree of reporting have varied greatly. We conducted a search for and meta-analysis of open-water dreissenid mussel control projects that have occurred in North America, including from published and unpublished reports. In this presentation, I will present information on 33 open-water dreissenid mussel control projects in 23 lakes across North America. In particular, I will share elements of both successful and failed projects, cover knowledge gaps, and highlight suggestions that could contribute to future dreissenid management actions.

Matt Barbour
Title: Low-dose copper treatment for dreissenid mussel control as an alternative to traditional management strategy

Description: Copper is a widely used product in aquatic systems largely to control algae and is the active ingredient in the molluscicide EarthTec QZ, one of the few registered products for open water dreissenid mussel control. Many dreissenid mussel control actions have targeted concentrations near the US Environmental Protection Agency’s 1 mg Cu/L limitation with the goal of eradicating a dreissenid population. Treatments at elevated copper concentrations can be highly toxic to nontarget aquatic communities and produce limited success with eradication of invasive mussels. As an alternative to the traditional eradication strategy, we performed two open water, low-dose copper application of EarthTec QZ in 2019 and 2022. Our treatment concentrations, 60-100 µg Cu/L, were an order of magnitude lower than the maximum allowed. The goals of the treatments were twofold 1) to reduce zebra mussel veliger densities and juvenile settlement therefore reduce recruitment into the breeding population in subsequent years and 2) to minimize adverse impacts to nontarget communities. We monitored non-target communities, water chemistry, and zebra mussel settlement before, during, and up to three years after the applications. This presentation summarizes the treatments, assesses them within the functional eradication framework, identifies knowledge gaps for future investigations, and discusses implications for resource managers in applying this strategy.