Invasive Species - Quagga Mussels

Quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis) are indigenous to the Dnieper River drainage of the Ukraine and were transported to the United States in the late 1980s by foreign ships discharging ballast water with quagga mussel larvae into the Great Lakes. This species, as well as the closely-related zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha), are highly invasive species that are now found in reservoirs, lakes, and rivers from the east coast to west coast of the United States. These non-native mollusks negatively impact freshwater ecosystems, and can cause damage to infrastructures and the environment potentially costing reservoir owners millions of dollars annually.

A hand holding a cluster of Quagga Mussels.
Quagga mussels stuck onto an anchor of a boat.

Rincon staff have conducted monitoring in quagga mussel-infested water bodies in California, and have developed plans with academic and resource agency experts, in accordance with Fish and Game Code §2302. The code requires any person, agency, district, or authority that owns or manages a reservoir that is open for public recreation and not infested with dreissenid mussels (e.g., quagga and zebra mussels) to:

  1. assess the vulnerability of the reservoir to introduction of dreissenid mussels; and

  2. develop and implement a program to prevent the introduction of dreissenid mussels.

Rincon biologists are knowledgeable in this regulatory requirement and in the implementation of monitoring requirements in infested water bodies. Our talented team of experts can assist in a strategic approach to comply with Fish and Game Code §2302, and to develop and implement measures to prevent an infestation that could result in substantial costs and damage to important reservoir and conveyance infrastructures.

Want to learn more about Quagga mussels?

Steve Howard