By Howard Meyerson
GRAND RAPIDS MI, – Federal scientists working to protect Great Lakes waters and fisheries are enthused about a new commercial product called Zequanox, which kills zebra mussels and quagga mussels without harming other species. But additional research is needed before it is used widely, they say. It could have a big impact on Great Lakes ecosystems.
“Zequanox does show great promise, but our level of understanding about its use in the Great Lakes is pretty low,” said Marc Gaden, spokesman for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, one of four federal agencies, including the U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Commission and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, that recently formed a collaborative to study the issues involved with broad-scale use of the molluscicide.
“We are looking to see if a comprehensive program is desirable,” Gaden said. ”It’s important to consider the impact. What would happen if you suddenly had billions of dead (decaying) zebra mussels out there. Would you end up with even more algae in the water? We have enough trouble now with anoxic (depleted oxygen) zones.
“The Great Lakes system changed pretty dramatically with zebra mussels, and we all agree that the lakes would be better off if they and quagga mussels never came. But they are well established and are now part of the food chain.” Continue reading