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USGS Zebra Mussel Zequanox Study

Project Status: 
3 people looking off a dock into the water
About this project: 

Zequanox is a non-chemical treatment used to kill zebra mussels, which the United States Geological Survey (USGS) tested in 2012 in a laboratory environment in northwest Minnesota.  It is now ready for testing in open water. The MCWD is providing some local assistance for the project. 

The USGS is currently testing the effectiveness of the biopesticide to control zebra mussels. Zequanox is a non-chemical treatment used to kill zebra mussels, and is currently labeled for use in enclosed industrial systems, such as power plants. The manufacturer of the product, Marrone Bio Innovations, is working to receive Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval to use the product in open water.

The USGS received a grant from the state of Minnesota to study the treatment. After testing it in a lab environment in northwestern Minnesota last year, the USGS has received appropriate permission from all state and federal agencies to apply an experimental treatment of Zequanox in Lake Minnetonka.


The USGS has placed about 80 samplers in Robinson's Bay, where young zebra mussels will collect and colonize. Researchers placed the samplers in three stockpiles and marked each with a buoy that reads "submerged hazard." In August the samplers will be placed in strategic locations throughout the bay.

Test treatments is planned to begin in September. Two treatment types will be tested: Injecting Zequanox through the entire water column, and injecting Zequanox near the lake bottom, to concentrate the product on adult zebra mussels. Each treatment will be replicated multiple times throughout the bay, and each will be contained within a barrier to keep the Zequanox isolated. 

The samplers will be removed in October. 

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