Because of the declines in diversity and abundance of native freshwater mussels (superfamily Unionoidea), and the potential decimation of populations of native mussels resulting from the rapid spread of the exotic zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha, management options to eliminate or reduce the threat of the zebra mussel are needed. Relocating native mussels to refugia (artificial and natural) has been proposed to mitigate the threat of zebra mussels to native species. Relocation of native mussels to refugia such as fish hatchery facilities or natural habitats within their historic range. Which are unlikely to be infested by zebra mussels, necessitates that protocols be developed to prevent the inadvertent introduction of zebra mussels. Several recent studies have developed Such protocols, and have assessed their effectiveness on the health and survival of native mussels during subsequent relocation to various refugia. The purpose of this project is to synthesize and evaluate the current protocols and to develop a set of procedures that resource managers and researchers should consider before conducting conservation activities in zebra mussel infested waters. We found that the existing protocols have many common points of concern, such as facility modification and suitability, zebra mussel risk assessment and management procedures, and health and disease management procedures. These conservation protocols may have broad applicability to other situations and locations. A summary and evaluation of the information in these main areas, along with recommended guidelines, are presented in this article.
Additional Publication Details
Review of techniques to prevent introduction of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) during native mussel (Unionoidea) conservation activities
Journal of Shellfish Research
North Carolina State Univ, Dept Environmental & Molecular Toxicology