Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Zebra Mussel Infestation Successfully Treated; No Mussels Found in Christmas Lake, MN

Like with any invasive infestation, early detection gives the opportunity for an effective control plan and potential eradication.  Current efforts for the invasive zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) have focused on prevention of the spread, as there haven't been breakthroughs for a prescription control plan yet.

zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) by Michael Massimi, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Bugwood.org

After discovering a small, isolated population in Christmas Lake, MN, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources implemented a three step plan to rid the lake of the mussels.  The first step was to use Zequanox, a derivative of a bacteria that is selective for zebra and quagga mussels.  The Zequanox was applied in September and then in October and November, EarthTec QZ, a liquid copper treatment labeled for zebra and quagga mussels, was applied.  Finally, in December, 1,000 pounds of potash (potassium chloride) was applied under the ice near the public boat access.  Use of this treatment plan, specifically the EarthTec and potash, required special emergency permission due to the treatment being off-label.

As of April 13, no zebra mussels were found in Christmas Lake.  Beginning in May, MN DNR and Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) will scout the lake and shoreline for zebra mussels and will also place zebra mussel samplers at public boat access areas and on participating homeowner's docks.  It will still be years of negative surveys before that zebra mussel population can be declared eliminated.

For the press release: Divers confirm effective treatment of Christmas Lake zebra mussels