Evaluation of Carbon Dioxide to Control Dreissenid Mussels

Science Center Objects

Management Tools for Dreissenid Mussels

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been suggested as a chemical control for a variety of invasive aquatic organisms, including Asian Carp. USGS researchers and partners evaluated the efficacy of low CO2 concentrations for preventing zebra mussel larval (veliger) settlement and during summer 2019 in a harbor of the upper Mississippi River. The lowest CO2 concentration that was tested (51 mg/L) was effective for preventing all mussel settlement during the summer. Impacts to native species, including unionid mussels and aquatic macroinvertebrates, were minimal. USGS will partner with Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to explore application scenarios for CO2 in closed and open systems  to prevent dreissenid settlement.

Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) is designing CO2 infusion systems to control dreissenid mussels in their facilities. USGS has partnered with BOR to conduct on-site evaluation of CO2 infusion at Davis Dam BOR facility in Nevada and determine the minimum treatment concentration and exposure period of CO2 to prevent dreissenid settlement.


USGS has partnered with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to evaluate the use of CO2 to reduce zebra mussel fouling at in-situ native mussel propagation sites.

Carbon dioxide prevented biofouling by newly settled zebra mussels.

Carbon dioxide prevented biofouling by newly settled zebra mussels. Interior of control (left) and CO2 infusion (right) manifolds at conclusion of 11 week study. Zebra mussels settled inside the control manifold while the manifold infused with CO2 had no biofouling by zebra mussels.

(Credit: Diane Waller, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center. Public domain.)