This Monitoring Section was edited for scientific content by:
Danielle M. Crosier and Daniel P. Molloy
Division of Research & Collections
New York State Museum
Field Research Laboratory
Cambridge, New York 12816
Monitoring is of vast importance, not only for the initial detection of mussel fouling, but also for the additional information it is capable of providing. Monitoring can, for example, determine not only the presence of zebra mussels, but also the life stages they are in, their abundance, and the effectiveness of implemented control and treatment programs. An effectively run monitoring system is, therefore, the first step to developing cost-effective control strategies. Knowledge gained through an effective, proactive monitoring program can result in considerable savings for a facility.
Not all sites require monitoring programs, since not all water bodies are suitable zebra mussel habitats. Do you know if your water body is already infested with zebra mussels? The degree to which zebra mussels can successfully colonize a water body or an associated man-made site is dependent on a number of key environmental parameters. Therefore, before initiating a monitoring program, it should first be determined if there is a sufficient risk of infestation at the site in question. For information on key environmental parameters required for colonization and for calculating the ability of zebra mussels to inhabit a particular water body, see the Risk Assessment section.
Before designing a monitoring program, the level of sensitivity of a site (e.g., water body or facility) to zebra mussel colonization must be determined. The sensitivity to such colonization can vary, not only from site to site, but also within a site. Facilities that have components that are deemed extremely sensitive to interruption or damage from zebra mussel colonization will need to be monitored more frequently for zebra mussels in both their planktonic (i.e., floating in water column) veliger stage and attached life stages and may need to employ a variety of sampling strategies. A monitoring strategy for less sensitive facilities (i.e., those that are able to withstand substantial mussel fouling) may be able to concentrate on only the attached stage and use only annual visual observations of various structures to determine the need for setting up control strategies.
Long-Term Monitoring Strategies
Importance of Maintaining Long-Term Records of Monitoring Data