Quagga and Zebra Mussels

Two species of dreissenid mussels, Dreissena polymorpha (zebra mussel) and Dreissena rostriformis “bugensis” (quagga mussel), have become established in freshwater lakes, reservoirs, and rivers in the United States. Invasive dreissenid mussels pose significant challenges for Reclamation and all agencies and industries that manage water. Invasive mussels are prolific breeders and settle on or within water facility infrastructure such as water intakes, gates, diversion screens, hydropower equipment, pumps, pipelines, and boats. Infested water and hydropower infrastructure can fail or choke off water transmissions. Invasive mussels negatively impact the natural ecology, which can be detrimental to native and endangered species, including native fisheries.

Maintaining and operating water supply and delivery facilities, water recreation, and other water dependent industries and economies in mussel infested water bodies are dramatically more expensive and complex. Public recreation may also be severely impacted by mussel infestations, from shell fragments degrading swim beaches to increased requirements and cost for boaters to have their watercraft inspected and decontaminated, and potential impacts on populations of game fish.


  • Prize Competition

    Prize Competition: Eradication of Invasive Mussels in Open Water

    The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking innovative solutions to eradicate invasive zebra and quagga mussels from large reservoirs, lakes, and rivers in a cost effective and environmentally sound manner. Invasive mussel infestations pose significant logistical and economic challenges for local communities, recreationists and water managers. Currently, no practical methods exist for large-scale control of invasive dreissenid mussel populations once they become widely established in a lake or reservoir (referred to as “open-water”). Solutions can be novel treatments or approaches that build upon existing treatments. This challenge launches Stage 1 of a planned three-stage Grand Challenge that includes laboratory-scale and field-scale demonstrations. Read More →

  • Fact Sheet

    Environmental DNA (eDNA) and monitoring for invasive species fact sheet

    Environmental DNA (eDNA) refers to DNA present in an environmental sample, as differentiated from traditional sampling of DNA directly from an intact organism. eDNA frequently is thought of as DNA in tissue and cells that have been shed by an organism, but can also refer to DNA within an intact organism (usually microscopic), if that organism is collected in the environmental sample. For eDNA analysis, samples are collected from the environment and DNA is then extracted from the full sample or some fraction of it. Read More →

Last Updated: 1/4/18