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Technical Service Center
Environmental Applications and Research Group

Aquatic Site Pest Management

Bureau of Reclamation facilities include thousands of miles of water distribution canals, rights-of-way, wetlands, wildlife resources, recreational areas, and reservoirs which are at significant risk of damage or disruption by weeds and other pests (including algae and mollusks).

Significant amounts of water are lost annually as a result of such infestations, along with disturbances to wildlife and humans, and the costs associated with remedying these problems. Reclamation is also concerned that harmful weeds and other pests may spread by its water distribution systems or that their growth may be encouraged by system operations. The spread and establishment of harmful aquatic pests is in direct conflict with our goals to provide prudent and cost-effective management of Western water resources.

In order to prevent or manage these problems, the Environmental Applications and Research Group, along with its cooperators, is developing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques for Reclamation facilities. Some of the topics currently being developed by the Aquatic Site Pest Management Team include:

  1. BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS
    Biocontrol agents reduce dependency on pesticides, provide a source of continuous control, and are generally an environmentally acceptable means of pest control.
     
    1. Host-specific insects for control of purple loosestrife, leafy spurge, and Eurasian watermilfoil, saltcedar, and knapweed (please see our publications page)
    2. Grass carp for control of submersed aquatic weeds
       
  2. IMPROVED PESTICIDE APPLICATION TECHNIQUES AND DEVELOPMENT OF ENVIRONMENTALLY ACCEPTABLE PESTICIDES
     
    1. Application of herbicides using wipers
    2. Low-rate metering and use of controlled-release matrices for aquatic weed control in flowing water
       
  3. PEST PHYSIOLOGY
    Studies of the physiology, growth and reproduction of pests make it possible to exploit vunerable control points in their life cycles.
     
  4. ZEBRA MUSSELS AND OTHER MOLLUSKS
    This mollusk has only reached as far west as Oklahoma, but has potential to move rapidly and explosively throughout western waters and facilities. Although the mollusk is not known to exist in Reclamation facilities, we are monitoring (please see our publications page) at-risk facilities and developing plans to deal with the mussels should they arrive.
     
  5. MAPPING
     
  6. REVEGETATION STUDIES

If you would like more information on our aquatic site pest management program please contact us at (303) 445-2202, or send e-mail to Fred Nibling at FNibling@usbr.gov.
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Pest Management Related Links

Click here to see links that may be of interest in the area of aquatic site pest management.