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Frequently Asked Questions


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  • What is the difference between zebra mussels and quagga mussels? Zebra mussels and quagga mussels are two different species within the same genus of mussels. The two species are very similar and may be difficult to distinguish. In some areas, the Great Lakes, for example, zebra mussels and quagga mussels both occur. For many, it is common to refer to either species as "zebra mussels," using this term in a general sense. Other areas have only been invaded by one of the two species. For example, the state of Oklahoma has only zebra mussels. Whereas, the state of Arizona only has quagga mussels. The impacts, including economic and ecological consequences are identical for the two species. We have a page with more information on both species.

  • Is it possible to get rid of zebra or quagga mussels once they are discovered? The short answer is "No." However, a population of zebra/quagga mussels was eradicated from a small quarry pond in Virginia, using potassium chloride. Most waters with zebra/quagga mussel infestations are much larger, have flowing water, or are a source for drinking water, which makes this kind of eradication (poisoning) infeasible. A National Park Service biologist once calculated that there was not enough commercially available potassium chloride on the planet to treat Lake Mead similarly to what was done in Virginia. Although current eradication technologies are unable to rid waters of zebra or quagga mussels, researchers are working on technologies that are promising for controlling these invaders. And, future technologies may exist that will solve current problems. We need more time and more research.

  • Isn’t prevention futile? Absolutely not! Prevention is our best hope for protecting and conserving the waters, habitats, and organism that have not yet been affected. Every day that we keep invaders out of our waters is a day that researchers can use to find a solution to the problem. I brush my teeth, wash my hands, eat my vegetables, and try to stay healthy even though I know that some day my end will be near. Our waters and the organisms they support deserve the same treatment. We should keep them healthy as best we can for as long as we can. Unlike our own bodies, our waters should be able to support life indefinitely. Let’s not give up on them now.

  • What can I do? You have already started! By reading this your are educating yourself about the problem. Simple solutions to stop invasions exist and should be practiced by everyone who uses our shared waters. Be sure to CLEAN your boat and equipment every time you use it, especially if you plan to move it to a new location. DRAIN all standing water, including any that may be left in the engine’s cooling system, live wells, and bilge areas. Then, DRY everything that has come in contact with water. When the weather is cool and humid, aquatic organisms have a better opportunity to survive out of water. Use our drying time estimator if you are unsure how long you should let your gear dry. You can also help by spreading the word.


Clean Drain Dry

It really is that simple!

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Development of this web site is supported by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service through a partnership with the University of Texas - Arlington and contains information and resources derived from a variety of other partners and sources. Materials on this web site are free for public use and are not intended to be used for profit. Read more...

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