Zebra Mussel Monitoring Program

Visual Detection

In addition to artificial substrate deployment, ZMMP personnel conduct visual inspections along shorelines, river banks, bridges, buoys, and within naturally occurring substrate features. USGS personnel certified as SCUBA divers search for juvenile and adult dreissenid mussels during dives to determine their occurrence and relative densities on water intake structures, boat ramps, marina flotation and support devices, and other submerged structures. ZMMP personnel also coordinate with water authorities to visually inspect water-supply pipelines.

SCUBA Inspections

Scuba diver with his head just above the surface of the water

Annual dives are done to assess change in dreissenid mussel presence and density at multiple sites at most monitored reservoirs. Submerged surfaces are analyzed using visual and tactile inspections.

SCUBA Inspection Sites

Stream Inspections

Scientist in knee-deep water in a creek, leaning over a fallen log looking for zebra mussels.   Canoes pulled on to the creek bank to the left.

ZMMP personnel monitor several river and creek reaches that are near established zebra mussel populations or infrastructures of interest. Similar data is collected but methods on the river and creek stretches vary from reservoir surveys. ZMMP personnel examine river banks, weirs, and natural submerged vegetation for signs of adult zebra mussels.

Stream Inspection Sites

Pipeline Inspections

Scientist in a hard hat with a head lamp, closely inspecting the zebra mussels attached along the waterline within a drained pipeline.

ZMMP personnel inspect water pipelines for zebra mussel settlement for local water authorities. In coordination with these local water authorities, pipelines are shut down and drained to allow the ZMMP crew to enter and inspect the pipeline. Mussel identifications are verified and adult zebra mussel densities are determined by the field crew and reported back to the local water authority.

Video Footage

High-definition video footage is collected to document occurrences and mussel population/settlement dynamics.

Additional Photos

Place your cursor on the photo for the image caption. Click on the photo to see a larger view.
Two scuba divers at the rocky lake shore, examining their tanks and breathing equipment
Preparing for the Lake Texoma dive
Scuba diver at a rocky shoreline entering the water, holding an underwater camera
Starting Lake Texoma dive
Two scuba divers mid-lake next to a caution buoy
Scuba divers
Large water supply pipeline with several inches of zebra mussels along the bottom of the pipe
Drained pipeline
USGS scientist examining the inside of a water pipeline for zebra and quagga mussels.
USGS scientist examining the inside of a water pipeline for zebra and quagga mussels
Zebra mussels inside a water pipeline
Zebra mussels inside a water pipeline
Interior of a large water supply pipeline.  Several zebra mussels attached along the waterline
Zebra mussels within a pipeline
Scientist crouching in a drained, large water supply pipe looking for juvenile or adult zebra mussels along the pipe walls.   Another scientist is visible in the background walking further down the pipe.
Pipe inspection
Scientist in knee deep water in front of a log fallen across the stream; canoe in the foreground
Examining fallen log for juvenile or adult zebra mussels
Scientist kneeling in the water at the edge of a creek, closely examining a fallen log
Examining natural substrate for juvenile or adult zebra mussels
Zebra mussel in the center of the picture, attached to a rock.  Bright green grass in the background
Adult zebra mussel attached to a rock
Zebra mussel attached to a rock above the creek surface
Zebra mussel on rock