FRENCH ISLAND, Wis. (WXOW) - The battle against the invasive zebra mussel isn't being fought in La Crosse, but one of the area's top experts on the subject is playing a role in the outcome.
Jim Luoma, a fisheries biologist with the United States Geological Survey in French Island is helping the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources test a new pesticide called Zequanox, which will be used to fight off zebra mussels.
A test is scheduled for July to test the effectiveness of the biological pesticide, its first application on Wisconsin public waters.
Luoma said the test will include testing six different samples of native mussels, each enclosed in a temporary water-impermeable enclosure with a calculated amount of zebra mussels.
The maximum amount of Zequanox applied will be 100 mg/L - equal to the concentration that USEPA determined to be safe to be discharged.
"Then we'll monitor how well we can control the populations of zebra mussels that are adhering the native mussels and how the native mussels respond, either positively or negatively to the exposure of the material," Luoma said.
The test will last eight hours.
The USGS is researching the potential of Zequanox to control mussels in limited, high-value open water environments such as native mussel beds and on native mussel propagation cages used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other resource management agencies in native mussel restoration.
USGS completed field studies in Lake Carlos in Minnesota and Lake Shawano in Wisconsin in 2012 to assess the effectiveness of Zequanox. Another study is planned for Lake Minnetonka in September.
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