Noted Zebra Mussel Researcher Comes to Whitefish Chain


8-15-2016 Update--In the News Again….increasing use of Dr. Molloy’s discovery….here

8-28-2014 Noted Zebra Mussel Researcher returns to Whitefish Chain

On August 28th, 2014, Dr. Dan Molloy, nationally known zebra mussel researcher, was back on the Whitefish Chain to evaluate the extent of the zebra mussel invasion.

Dr. Molloy reviews previous notes as he travels to his first diving site on Whitefish

Dr. Molloy reviews previous notes as he travels to his first diving site on Whitefish

Dr. Molloy gained prominence when he discovered a bacterium that would kill zebra mussels.

He is a Research Scientist and Adjunct Professor at the State University of NY at Albany.

WAPOA (Whitefish Area Property Owners Association) has worked with Dr. Molloy in the past, and was delighted to host him on this visit. A WAPOA Board member provided a pontoon and volunteers, and took him to six sites to look for changes in the zebra mussel population.

In September, 2011 he was the featured speaker at a WAPOA-sponsored seminar on zebra and quagga mussels — both threats to our lakes.  At that time he did dive on the  Whitefish Chain looking for zebra mussels.  He could not locate any at that time.

Two years later, in July 2013, the Whitefish Chain was classified by the DNR as infested with zebra mussels. A few adult zebra mussels were discovered in Cross Lake and a single adult was found near the Lower Hay Lake access.

Plankton netting at that time showed there were immature zebra mussels at several locations throughout the Chain.

During his visit on August 28, 2014 Dr. Molloy found no zebra mussels at the Lower Hay access, Upper Whitefish entrance to Lower Hay, Rush near the entrance to Lower Whitefish, and at the County Road 16 bridge near the Wharf Restaurant.

Even though adult zebra mussels were not found at the west end of the chain the DNR did find a few immature veligers last year and does regard the entire chain as infested.

DNR AIS specialist Dan Swanson shows Dr. Dan Molloy where the first zebra mussels were discovered on the Whitefish Chain.

DNR AIS specialist Dan Swanson shows Dr. Dan Molloy where the first zebra mussels were discovered on the Whitefish Chain.


Regional DNR AIS specialist Dan Swanson directed him to the site of the original July, 2013 discovery in Cross Lake.  There the DNR and Dr. Molloy confirmed that zebra mussels continue to be prevalent.


Zebra mussels were also found near the Army Corps of Engineers metal fishing platform just above the dam. Some of the zebra mussels were preserved by the DNR and are available for inspection at the Crosslake Army Corps of Engineers office.

Dr. Molloy’s search should be regarded as qualitative, not quantitative.

Hod_Swa_FisP1090068 copy

Corrine Hodapp, Corps Supervisory Ranger holds rock found near dam with zebra mussel attached. Dan Swanson, DNR AIS specialist about to take photo.

Molloy described the Cross Lake zebra mussels as one to two years of age.

Normally, if they were reproducing rapidly there should be smaller ones from this year.

Dr. Molloy expressed curiosity at finding no “young of the year” zebra mussels.

His thoughts after his survey was that the invasion is still early and that in some places there were fewer than he expected. 

WAPOA past-President Dave Fischer commented, “ We were once again pleased to have one of the nation’s foremost zebra mussel scientists assisting us in determining the status of zebra mussels in the Whitefish Chain. It is our intention to continue our relationship with Dr. Molloy as he researches further methods to control the spread of zebra mussels and the quagga mussel, a similar invasive species that we may have to deal with in the future.”

Molloy was in Minnesota to consult on the just-discovered zebra mussels in Christmas Lake.

In that lake they seemed limited to an area just around the public access.

Within one to two weeks Molloy’s discovery, now trade named Zequanox, will applied in the area where the zebra mussels were found.

The 265 acre lake is in Hennepin County. The area to be treated is about the size of a “swimming pool.”

His search for the bacterial toxin in Zequanox took many years.

Over 700 different bacteria were tested one-by-one until he discovered Pseudomonas fluorescens was fatally poisonous to zebra mussels, with no known effect on any other living thing.

So far it has been used commercially only in closed water systems such as cooling pipes in electrical power plants, where the dose can be carefully regulated.

Zequanox was approved for open water use in July, 2014.

The Christmas Lake application will be the largest open water area treated to date. We will be closely following the results, as well as results of several other ongoing tests.