Control Measures

Controlling infestations in water distribution systems for municipal, agricultural and industrial supply enables continued operation of facilities and may contribute to reducing populations, which can also reduce the likelihood of a quagga or zebra mussel infestation spreading to new areas. A variety of management techniques are possible, including settlement prevention, desiccation, mechanical removal, oxidizing biocides, thermal, and biological control.

Tools for effective, cost-efficient, and ecologically sound quagga and zebra mussel control in the West are limited. Most containment and control technologies were developed for closed-water systems. It is very costly and difficult to prevent the spread through the large water distribution systems that exist in the West, including trans-mountain diversions that move water across the continental divide. Additional tools are needed to prevent invasive mussel movement through water delivery systems and for open water systems.

Containment can be difficult as the volume of water to be treated is large, the environmental impacts of the treatment must be acceptable, and the costs must not be prohibitive. Development of control options has been tied closely to research and remains an ongoing effort at Reclamation.


  • Available Methods for Invasive Mussel Control
    This report comprises a brief overview of the status of the mussel infestation, Reclamation’s actions to minimize invasive mussel impacts, and information regarding available methods to control invasive mussels at impacted Reclamation facilities. The various methods can generally be categorized as: chemical and non-chemical methods, which include pesticides, coatings, ultraviolet (UV) light treatment, filtration, operational, and mechanical (removal or cleaning). Read Report
  • Finding Durable Foul-Release Coatings to Control Invasive Mussel Attachment Highlighted in Bureau of Reclamation Study
    Reclamation has released a report summarizing six years of testing coatings to control the attachment of quagga and zebra mussels to water and power facilities. Since the study began in 2008, Reclamation has tested more than 100 coatings and materials. Read Report
Last Updated: 3/7/19