Bureau of Reclamation Banner

Technical Service Center
Environmental Applications and Research Group — Publications

Zebra Mussel Monitoring Research Program at the Bureau of Reclamation: Summary of 1996 Monitoring Activities — Appendix C

Technical Memorandum No. 8220-97-11
Tracie Greene

Appendix C: Instructions for Zebra Mussel Early Detection Kit

Zebra mussels are rapidly expanding their range. Early detection can save you money and help you avoid many problems. The enclosed zebra mussel detection kits should detect zebra mussels before they have caused major problems at your facility.

Adult zebra mussels produce millions of young in the spring when the water warms up, and continue until autumn. When young, they are visible only with a specially-equipped microscope. To effectively monitor for zebra mussels, you should begin collecting samples using this kit as soon as possible April or May.

To choose the best site for detecting zebra mussels, place traps according to the following suggestions:

-- Hang these traps (two traps at each site) at sites that are easily accessible and where water at low stage will be at least 6-8 feet deep during the period April to November. Dams or pumping stations with large water intakes are prime locations. Good choices for specific sites are where water is moving toward an intake, or through fish barriers, screens, trash racks, gates, and other structures that may be impacted by zebra mussels.
-- Locations with current velocities up to 0.5-1 foot per second are preferred. Avoid currents stronger than 2 feet per second.
-- These animals tend to avoid attaching to surfaces exposed to bright light. Good choices are places where the trap can be lowered to a depth in the water where light is poor.
-- Avoid locations with stagnant water. Zebra mussels will not live in water that is not oxygenated.
-- Draw a map detailing the placement of each trap (depth, water flow, major structures), and include a copy with the first mailing.

Leave the traps in the water for 4 weeks to allow for colonization by zebra mussels. Record the date that the traps were placed in the water. At the end of that time remove the netting from inside the traps and place each piece of netting directly into separate plastic bottles. Do not allow the samples to dry out, but do not add extra water to the bottles. Fill out the labels on the bottles, place them in the mailing envelope, and mail immediately. If you cannot mail the samples the same day as collected, place the samples in the refrigerator.

A new piece of netting should inserted into each trap. Secure the lid with a new cable tie and return the trap to the water. The final piece of netting should be placed into the trap in October-, after removing the netting in November, please save the (4) plastic mesh cages for use next spring.

Staff of the Ecological Research and Investigations Group (86-68220) of the Bureau of Reclamation will examine your samples. You will receive a reply shortly after you submit each sample. It will indicate the presence or absence of zebra mussels in your samples. If you have any questions about the kits or your test results, please contact the Ecological Research and Investigations Section at (303)236-6007.

To go back to the Technical Memorandum No. 8220-97-11 (back) CLICK HERE.

[Bureau of Reclamation's Home Page]