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Lake test proposed for pesticide to kill invasive mussels


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Wisconsin officials are preparing to test a powdered pesticide designed to kill Zebra and Quagga Mussels. The two invasive species are responsible for out-competing native species of mussels, and they reproduce in high numbers clogging inflow and outflow pipes and cause bacterial growth that fouls beaches.

Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection spokesperson Donna Gilson says the product is called Zequanox®, and has been used successfully in different circumstances.  “It’s already approved by the Environmental Protection Agency, and registered with us in the State of Wisconsin to use in closed systems, like industries in their systems when the mussels clog up their water intake systems, but it hasn’t been tested and isn’t approved currently for use in open water, so that is what they want to test out.”

The pesticide is a dead bacteria that affects these two invasive species, and has no affect on other mussels, fish, birds, or humans.  “It’s a bacteria, and it’s very specific to these two species of mussels. It’s applied in a powder form and the mussels take in water and take it in through the water, and filter it in as a food source, and when it gets into their digestive system, it messes everything up and kills them that way.”

Gilson says the U.S. Geological Survey requested the permit to test Zequanox® Mussel Control in open water such as ponds and lakes.  “The permit that they’ve requested is to apply the Zequanox® to Keyes Lake up in Florence County, and sometime between July 15th and August 15th, they would apply it just once to six enclosed areas within the lake.”

The test would be done using about 44 pounds of the product in six enclosures, about 27 square meters each. The enclosures would be removed after the product has had time to take effect. The outcome will be measured after the test to see if the treatment was effective.

The period for public comment on the permit’s environmental assessment ends Thursday. A copy of the assessment is available through the DATCP.  

To get a copy of the environmental assessment or leave comments, call or email Robby Personette at the DATCP.  His phone number is 608-224-4542, and email address is: robby.personette@wi.gov.