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Tuesday, February 7 • 3:20pm - 3:40pm
Symposia Session - S8: Fate of Freshwater Mussels. Our St. Croix River: Battleground for Invading Zebra Mussels

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AUTHORS: Byron N. Karns, National Park Service, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway

ABSTRACT: In 1992, zebra mussels were discovered in the Mississippi River as it flows through the Twin Cities, Minnesota.  Twenty one river miles downstream lay the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, a unit of the National Park System. Renowned for its recreational and biological resources, the St. Croix River is nationally significant for its richness and abundance of freshwater mussels (up to 40 species).  With the greatest diversity of unionids in the Upper Mississippi watershed, the Riverway has the potential to be severely impacted by zebra mussels.
Since 1992, the National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have led an interagency task force designed to halt/slow the spread of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) into the St. Croix Riverway.  In 1993, a St. Croix Zebra Mussel Prevention Plan was developed and implemented by the task force.Still a guiding force behind policy and procedure on the Riverway, the Prevention Plan was the first of its kind in the United States, and remains a model for federal and state agencies in the U.S. and Canada.  Key elements of the plan include education/information, inspection/access management, monitoring, infestation control, and research.  Up to seven years after the Prevention Plan was introduced, no reproducing population of zebra mussels had been detected in the St. Croix River.  A new element for the task force since 2000 has been the formation of an agency-staffed scuba-dive team to directly monitor the river for zebra mussels.  With the creation of this dive team, staffed with members of the NPS and the USFWS, the river has been annually surveyed by trained biologists and experts, all of whom sit on the task force.  Thus, monitoring conclusions and recommendations were made with a unique degree of first-hand information.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 3:20pm - 3:40pm CST
Grand Ballroom A