Scientists to test aquatic pesticide in northern Michigan

May 5, 2016

Quagga mussels are typically smaller and lighter colored than their cousin, the zebra mussel.
Credit U.S. Geological Survey

An environmental group is testing a new weapon in the war on invasive, aquatic species in northern Michigan.

It’s a pesticide called Zequanox that kills zebra and quagga mussels, and is approved for use in open water by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council of Emmet County will test it on zebra mussels in inland lakes in the area next year.

The pesticide could be useful in the future against quagga mussels, too, says Matt Claucherty. He’s a water resource specialist with Tip of the Mitt.

“Quagga mussels are almost a second wave of invasion that is worse than zebra mussels,” Claucherty says.

Quagga mussels have not yet gained a foothold in most inland lakes in Michigan, although they were discovered in Crooked Lake near Petoskey last year. The mussel can disrupt an ecosystem’s food chain.

The company that produces Zequanox says it won't harm the environment or other species if used as directed.

“This study and method could be used to pave the way towards significantly controlling zebra and quagga mussels within our inland lakes in Michigan,” Claucherty says.

Tip of the Mitt Watershed Council has received a federal grant worth $641,077 to pay for the study.