Evaluation of Copper as a Control Agent for Invasive Mussels

Science Center Objects

Management Tools for Dreissenid Mussels

USGS researchers and partners conducted an experimental application of low dose copper, as EarthTecQZ, to a bay in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota.  The veliger density and settlement were compared to that of an untreated bay within the same lake. The copper application produced a substantial reduction in zebra mussel abundance of early life stages, juvenile settlement and even live adults in the treatment bay, compared to the control bay. Follow up monitoring will be conducted to determine how long the treatment will suppress zebra mussel populations and the recovery response of native invertebrate communities. Further testing will be conducted to determine minimal effective concentrations of copper needed for zebra mussel suppression and long-term effects on native communities.

Upcoming Goals:

  1. USGS will continue partnership with the University of Minnesota (Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center - MAISRC) to evaluate the long-term suppression of zebra mussel populations in the years after treatment.
  2. A second study lake will be identified in 2020 for low-copper treatment in 2021 using similar methods and post-treatment monitoring schedule as that used in Lake Minnetonka.
  3. We will create cost – benefit estimates of low dose copper treatments and the frequency of repeat treatments to maintain dreissenid mussels at target management levels.

 

Low-dose copper application in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, to suppress zebra mussel veliger settlement

Low-dose copper application in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota, to suppress zebra mussel veliger settlement

(Credit: Matt Barbour, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center. Public domain.)