The U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service announced that it intends to award a $99,700 cooperative agreement to the Northland College of Ashland, Wisconsin, for early detection and control of invasive mussels at the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

The agency description of the grant states: “Northland College is a member of the Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit in the Great Lakes Northern Forest. The objective of this agreement is to determine the extent of exotic invasive zebra mussel infestation within and adjacent to the park, including working closely with the Red Cliff tribe to survey areas of concern within coastal areas of the Red Cliff reservation, threats to native mussel populations and pilot manual control efforts. Zebra and quagga mussels have drastic impacts on the ecological and economic health of freshwater systems.”

Previously thought unable to establish in most of Lake Superior, in 2015, zebra mussels were discovered in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The public purpose is to gain new knowledge provided through research and related results dissemination to not only the scientific community, but to the general public, tribal and agency staff and other local entities. Zebra mussels are a serious threat to the aquatic environment.

Commercial and sport fishing are very important to the local, including tribal, economy and could be impacted by zebra mussel infestation. The National Park Service’s involvement is jointly developing the scope of activities, goals, locations, and technical and logistical assistance, along with safety training, park orientation to park resources, and review and coordination of the final reports.