The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved Marrone Bio Innovations’ Zequanox for open-water use to combat invasive zebra and quagga mussels in lakes, rivers, recreation areas and other open bodies of water.
Zequanox, the industry’s only selective and environmentally compatible molluscicide, was first approved by the EPA in 2012 for mussel control in enclosed systems and infrastructures for energy producers, manufacturing companies and golf courses, an MBI news release said.
With this new EPA approval, Zequanox now offers private waterfront owners and natural resource managers a solution to control existing populations of invasive mussels or knock back new infestations without the use of environmentally harmful potash and copper-based products.
Invasive mussel populations are prevalent in major waterways throughout the country, including the Great Lakes Region as well as the Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and Colorado rivers, said MBI, which is based in Davis.
The mussels have a significant economic and environmental impact on recreational water use. Colonies of invasive zebra and quagga mussels negatively impact native mussel populations, disrupt the natural ecosystem and cause proliferation of toxic blue-green algae. They decrease game fish populations, which can have a serious effect on the economic health of the fishing industry.
Swimmers run the risk of injury from the invasive mussels’ sharp shells, and water intakes from infested lakes and rivers used for irrigation, fire suppression and drinking water can suffer impeded or blocked flow and damage to infrastructure and equipment, MBI said.
Additional economic challenges caused by invasive mussel infestations include decreased lakefront property values, loss of revenue from closed reservoirs and reduced recreation, and costs to remove or manage the infestation.
Zequanox is composed of dead cells derived from a naturally occurring soil microbe, and it controls mussels in all life stages, MBI said. Unlike toxic treatments, such as potash and copper-based solutions, Zequanox is biodegradable, noncorrosive and nonvolatile. In addition, Zequanox is highly selective to control only the invasive zebra and quagga mussels, is effective in a broad range of water conditions and, according to the EPA, its active ingredient has “low toxicity and presents little risk to non-target organisms.”