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.