Pesticide to Control Zebra Mussels

 A zebra mussel ( Dreissena polymorpha ). Public Domain, wikimedia.org

A zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha). Public Domain, wikimedia.org

     Researchers are out on Lake Minnetonka to see if low doses of copper-based pesticide are sufficient to kill and slow the spread of zebra mussel larvae ("veligers"). The study is the first of its kind in the U.S. "People don't even think about it this way-- the strategy is new," said Michael McCartney, a researcher and assistant professor at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. "You can knock them back a lot."

     The tests will involve applying different, but low, doses of the pesticide and then measuring how many veligers have died the following day. "It has a lot of promise if it can be successful," said Eric Fieldseth, program manager for the watershed's aquatic invasive species program.

     While it is most likely not possible to eradicate all the invasive mussels in a lake the size of the Minnetonka, if the study is successful it will offer a much more effective control method. "You wouldn't loo to eradicate a lake this size," said McCartney. "But you'd look to reduce the population."

     The study, conducted by researchers from the Center and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, is funded by a $24,000 grant from Hennepin County. The full article from the StarTribune is available here or through the link below.