Invasive zebra mussels have been found in "moss balls” an aquarium plant product sold at aquarium and pet supply stores. Zebra mussels are regarded as one of the most destructive invasive species in North America. Learn more about the situation, rapid response efforts by federal and state agencies, and how to properly destroy the moss balls to prevent the spread of zebra mussels.
DOI. United States Geological Survey.
Invasive zebra and quagga mussels are an immediate threat to Western states. With no controls, they spread rapidly, foul boats and equipment, clog water intake, and increase costs to hydropower operations and municipal water utilities. Even dead mussels can be a nuisance, littering beaches with shells. Management of these invaders is expensive; in the Great Lakes, managing mussels costs about $500 million annually. Until 2007, the mussels were limited to waterways and lakes east of the Mississippi, but now they have spread westward. In 2016, quagga mussels were found in Lake Powell.
Unfortunately, there are no foolproof existing technologies or treatments to eradicate established mussel populations in large, open water systems in an environmentally sound manner. Early warning, however, helps us prepare before the mussels or other invasive species arrive.
United States Department of the Interior.
The Administration announced a new interagency conservation agreement to protect western water supplies, power generation, outdoor recreation and aquatic ecosystems by strengthening efforts to combat invasive mussels.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, and six Department of the Interior bureaus focuses on boosting federal coordination, communication and collaboration to enhance the capacity of federal, state and tribal agencies to rapidly respond to discoveries of invasive mussels in western states.
Western Regional Panel on Aquatic Nuisance Species.
The Western Regional Panel prepared Quagga and Zebra Mussel Action Plan 2.0 to inform ongoing management and partnership efforts intended to minimize the spread and impacts from zebra and quagga mussels in the western United States. The original QZAP action items have guided prevention, containment, research, and management to address the ecological and economic impacts of invasive quagga and zebra mussels since 2009. The purpose of QZAP 2.0 is to provide a systematic and unified approach to prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels into and within the western United States in the future. The urgency and the need for such a coordinated approach remain as important today as ever before. Newly infested waters, increased boating pressure, and gained public and political awareness drove the need for the Western Regional Panel to acknowledge and learn from the past and set forth a new collective path towards the future. These recommendations are intended to inform decision-making to provide increased capacity and clear direction that empowers the further implementation of a collaborative and coordinated multi-jurisdictional regional strategy to prevent the spread of quagga and zebra mussels in the West. For more resources, see: Key Documents
Western Governors' Association.
Officials at the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) announced in June 2017 that DOI would coordinate with the Western Governors' Association, states, tribes, federal agencies, and other partners in a project to help strengthen existing efforts to address invasive mussels. The actions described in the 2017 report, Safeguarding the West from Invasive Species, Actions to Strengthen Federal, State, and Tribal Coordination to Address Invasive Mussels (PDF | 1.3 MB), vary from policy and program reviews to on-the-ground efforts to prevent, contain, and control invasive mussels. One recommendation in Safeguarding the West was the development of a reference manual to facilitate rapid response activities in the event of mussel introductions in the Columbia River Basin. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently finalized and released this manual, Dreissenid Mussel Rapid Response in the Columbia River Basin: Recommended Practices to Facilitate Endangered Species Act Section 7 Compliance (PDF | 3.63 MB).
Distribution / Maps / Survey Status
DOI. FWS. Fish and Aquatic Conservation.
Injurious wildlife are wild mammals, wild birds, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, crustaceans, mollusks and their offspring or eggs that are injurious to the interests of human beings, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, wildlife or wildlife resources of the U.S. Plants and organisms other than those stated above cannot be listed as injurious wildlife.
See also: Injurious Wildlife: A Summary of the Injurious Provisions of the Lacey Act (Dec 2017; PDF | 401 KB)
The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Zebra Mussel.
Council or Task Force
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).
100th Meridian Initiative.
DOI. USGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).
State and Local Government
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
See also: Publications - Invasive for more resources
Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.
Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
California Department of Fish and Game.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources.
Maryland Sea Grant.
University of Minnesota. Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.
See also: Zebra mussels research
University of California - Riverside. Center for Invasive Species Research.