Invasive Eurasian mussels - quagga and zebra mussels - represent an unprecidented threat to California water and ecosystems. Introduced to the Great Lakes in the 1980's, these mussels have significantly impacted the ecology and economy of the region. Experts estimate that, nationwide, Eurasian mussel impacts totaled $1 billion between 1989-1999 (Phillips,S 2001).
In the arid West, where water is moved hundreds of miles to support agriculture and urban areas, costs could be much higher than in the Great Lakes. The Idaho Aquatic Nuisance Species Taskforce (IANTF 2009) estimated that costs to manage and control Eurasian mussels would total approximately $95 million per year for the state. This was a "conservative" estimate that did not include costs to irrigation systems because this has not been studied. In California, the Metropolitan Water District, infested with quagga mussels in 2007, estimates their annual costs to control and manage their infestation to be $10 million.
WAEMAP emphasizes proactive planning to prevent or reduce costs of Eurasian mussel infestations. A preventative strategy is, of course, the best approach. However, early detection and rapid response can prevent large scale infestations and shell buildup, which can reduce control costs and shut downs. Early detection can also assist in preventing movement of the mussels to other facilities.
Idaho Aquatic Nuisance Species Taskforce 2009. Estimated Potential Economic Impact of Zebra and Quagga Mussel Introduction into Idaho. Accessed from: http://www.aquaticnuisance.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/Estimated-Economic-Impact-of-Mussel-Introduction-to-Idaho-Final.pdf on 3/7/12.
Phillips, Stephen 2001. Estimates of Economic Impacts from ANS (mostly those attributed to zebra mussels). Accessed from: http://www.aquaticnuisance.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/Econ%20Estimates%20ANS.pdf on 3/7/12.