Research and Projects

Dreissenid Mussel Control Demonstration Project

The Invasive Mussel Collaborative released its Strategy to Advance Management of Invasive Zebra and Quagga Mussels in 2018. This strategy offers a roadmap to improve invasive mussel control in the Great Lakes region. As a first step towards implementation of the strategy, the Invasive Mussel Collaborative is working with the National Park Service and a variety of other partners to conduct a demonstration control project for invasive mussels at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Lake Michigan. This project expands an existing National Park Service project to remove invasive mussels in an effort to reduce the presence of nuisance algae and incidences of avian botulism at Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Where is the project located?

The project will take place in Good Harbor Bay near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, an important spawning and nursery habitat for native fish species that is jeopardized by invasive species, algal growth, and the botulism toxin

What are the impacts of invasive mussels at Sleeping Bear Dunes? 

Lake Michigan is heavily infested with invasive quagga mussels, which impact Great Lakes fisheries, clog up water intakes for industrial and municipal water users, degrade beaches, crowd out native species, and disrupt the aquatic food web. At Good Harbor Reef, quagga mussels also block available spawning sites along the reef floor for whitefish, lake herring, lake trout, and other native aquatic species. The negative impacts of invasive mussels extend to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where dead algae and mussel shells are creating a nuisance and a hazard for park visitors when they wash up on beaches. In addition, the area has experiences problems with the botulism toxin – likely driven by dead algae and introduced into the food web by invasive mussels – leading to the death of fish and water birds.

How are the invasive mussels controlled? 

This new project complements the National Park Service’s ongoing work by using a different control method, the highly selective toxicant Zequanox®. Zequanox® is a U.S. EPA registered molluscicide that is specific to zebra and quagga mussels, is approved for use in open water lakes, and has been safely used in multiple lakes across the Great Lakes region. This project will utilize an innovative method of applying Zequanox® by injecting it underneath a series of anchored tarps placed directly on the reef.

Zequanox® is pumped below a heavy duty sealed enclosure that remains in place for up to 8 hours.

Who is involved with the project?

Partners for this project represent a wide variety of experts and stakeholders, including:

Invasive Mussel Collaborative
Great Lakes Commission
U.S. Geological Survey
National Park Service
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
University of Michigan
The Nature Conservancy
Marrone Bio Innovations
Underwater Construction Corporation

Resources & Publications

Zequanox Application Technique Pilot Study on Lake Erie

Megan M. Weber, Marrone Bio Innovations; Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Zebra Mussels Invade Ontario Waters

Ontario's Invading Species Awareness Program

Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: A Regional Management Plan

The Regional Dreissena polymorpha Working Group, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection