Scientists Test Product to Kill Zebra Mussels in Carlos, Minn.
The Minnesota DNR is hoping zebra mussels have met their match. On Friday, the invasive species were treated with a product called Zequanox at Lake Carlos State Park just north of Alexandria.
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the New York State Museum's Field Research Laboratory worked with the DNR on the project.
It started last fall, when scientists collected mussels from Lake Carlos and put them into crates around the lake. Over they winter, they attached to trays inside.
This week, crews removed the crates and treated the mussels with the Zequanox, a dead bacteria that has been used to kill zebra mussels in closed water systems like power plants.
"They ingest these killed cells, thinking that it's food and pass it into their digestive organs where it works to kill them," said Denise Mayer, Director and Research Scientist with the New York State Museum.
This is one of the first times the product has been tried in open waters. So far, research shows it does not harm other water life.
After the mussels are treated, they will be placed back in the cages and into the water for another four weeks. Scientists will then count to see how many were killed.
"We're looking at at least having some tool for me to use in case someone does not do the right thing and moves some piece of equipment to a new lake, and hopefully we can get on top of that infestation and kill it," said Nathan Olson, Invasive Species Specialist with the Minnesota DNR.
The three year project was paid for with a million dollar grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Zequanox is made by Marrone Bio Innovations in California, which just completed a similar test at a lake in Dupage county, Illinois. That test was successful. More trials will be done Lake City, Minnesota, Wisconsin, California and Arizona.