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Dreissenid Mussel Early Detection Monitoring in the Columbia River Basin

Principal Investigators: Stephen Bollens, Gretchen Rollwagen-Bollens, Tim Counihan (USGS), Blaine Parker (Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission)
Student:
Funded by: Bureau of Indian Affairs, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
Award period: 2017-2018

Project Summary:

The prevention and control of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in the Columbia River Basin (CRB) is fundamental to maintaining the gains made to date in salmon and other native fish restoration. Early detection monitoring that allows mitigation and quarantine measures to prevent spread of mussels and other AIS into other waters are much less expensive than control or eradication after populations have become well established. Moreover, when prevention efforts fail, the early detection of dreissenid mussel introduction provides the greatest potential for implementing effective rapid response management actions designed to minimize impact. Control/eradication efforts are only possible when population densities are low and restricted to small areas. Management efforts to contain an infestation can only be implemented once the infestation is discovered. Water users, such as dam operators, hatcheries, and municipal water plants also need time to prepare their facilities before the invasive mussel densities become high. Recent research suggests that the current level of effort being expended in the Columbia and Snake rivers in not sufficient to provide for early detection capabilities (Counihan and Bollens 2017). For years state and federal programs have been in place to monitor incoming boat traffic, but as evidenced by the detection of invasive mussel veligers in two Montana water bodies in the fall of 2016, more work is needed.

In this project we are supporting a collaborative effort between WSU, USGS and CRITFC to undertake open water (ship-board) and dockside collection and laboratory processing of dreissenid veliger samples.

Publications/Presentations resulting from this project: