Liquid potash helps Canada control mussels plague

Liquid potash helps Canada control mussels plague

The Canadian province of Manitoba has found a new use for potash through a unique experiment that used the fertilizer in its liquid form to halt a zebra mussel invasion in one of its harbours.

Rob Nedotiafko, the co-ordinator of the province’s project to eradicate the invasive kind of shellfish, told Canadian Press the initial operation at Winnipeg Beach — one of four harbours affected — was completed with success.

The waterfront was sealed off with a silt curtain and pumped with liquid potash until a lethal concentration for the mussels was reached.

Because the species held in a nearby cage died, officials are assuming the ones not confined are dead as well.

The province says the liquid potash treatment in open water, in a lake environment, is the first of its kind.

The mussels, which were found for the first time in Manitoba last October, reproduce quickly and can disrupt the food chain, clog water pipes and create algae.


Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.