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Bureau of Reclamation launches prize competition looking to eradicate invasive quagga and zebra mussels

Winners of the prize competition will have an innovative solution for 100-percent eradication and will share a prize purse of $100,000

Media Contact: Peter Soeth, 303-445-3615,

For Release: December 14, 2017

Eradication of Mussels Prize Competition
Eradication of Mussels Prize Competition
WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Reclamation has launched a new prize competition seeking innovative solutions for the 100-percent eradication of invasive quagga and zebra 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 by potentially disrupting water deliveries, increasing facility maintenance cost, and impacting the local ecology.

"Currently, no known broad scale application for open water exists to safely eradicate mussels in an environmentally sound manner," Reclamation's Science Advisor David Raff said.

Solutions may be novel treatments or approaches that build upon existing treatments. They must be specific to invasive mussels without significant harm to non-target organisms such as native mussels or threatened and endangered species. They must already be in compliance with existing federal discharge permits and environmental protection regulations or must be implementable with reasonable modifications to existing regulations. Successful treatments must be cost-effective and scalable to large water bodies.

The challenge will consist of three stages. Stage one is a theoretical challenge. It requires the submission of a white paper that describes novel treatments/methods for open-water mussel eradication. Reclamation is making a total prize purse of $100,000 available, to be divided among a maximum of five winners. If successful, stage two is planned to provide proof-of-concept in a laboratory-scale demonstration.

Reclamation is collaborating with the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Molloy & Associates.

This prize competition is part of a series of initiatives that were developed through a collaboration with western governors and federal, state and Tribal agencies and highlighted by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke last June. Read the full list of actions.

Learn more by visiting

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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.