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Two invasive mussel species pose a threat to the environment and water supply in California. The quagga mussel, Driessena bugensis, and zebra mussel, Driessena polymorpha, were detected in California water bodies in 2007 and 2008.

These species have great potential to cause ecological harm by modifying aquatic habitats. They reproduce rapidly and reache very high densities. Thus, they compete for space with native species, and because they filter phytoplankton out of huge volumes of water, they can change the physical and biological properties of the ecosystem.

They may also cause significant economic harm by clogging pipes and covering infrastructure from boat engines and docks to dam gates and irrigation channels.

More information

Quagga/zebra mussels in California
For information about Eurasian mussels and other invasive species in California, and to report sightings, start with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife at https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Invasives/Quagga-Mussels
You may find local information by contacting your lake or water supplier.
For general information and a country-wide overview visit the US Geological Survey Nonindigenous Aquatic Species web site about quagga and zebra mussels: http://nas.er.usgs.gov/taxgroup/mollusks/zebramussel/
There is also a good overview at the web site of the 100th Meridian Project, a collaboration of several government agencies working on stopping the nationwide spread of invasive species: http://www.100thmeridian.org/zebras.asp
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission also has a good web site about aquatic invasive species, with a focus on the West coast: https://www.westernais.org/
And for education about the problems caused by releasing unwanted pets and plants, visit Habitatitude at http://www.habitattitude.net/


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UC Resources

Interested in starting a detection program? Check out our Early Detection Monitoring Manual for Quagga Mussels! 

Quagga and Zebra Mussel Eradication and Control Tactics Technical Report

This practical report explains how to use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach and specific tactics for eradicating and/or controlling invasive dreissenid (quagga and zebra) mussels in lakes and reservoirs. It covers how to develop and get started on a management strategy, manual & mechanical removal, oxygen deprivation, chemical application, emerging technologies, and an overview of permitting and regulatory processes.

It is based in part on presentations by experts at a joint workshop presented by California Sea Grant Extension and University of California Cooperative Extension in San Diego on February 1-2, 2012. Speakers’ abstracts, other information from the workshop presentations and field trips, and individual information sheets on the topics noted above are available from:  http://ca-sgep.ucsd.edu/quaggazebra_mussel_control