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The Control of an Invasive Bivalve, Corbicula fluminea, Using Gas Impermeable Benthic Barriers in a Large Natural Lake

  • Wittmann, Marion E.1, 2
  • Chandra, Sudeep3
  • Reuter, John E.1, 4
  • Schladow, S. Geoffrey1
  • Allen, Brant C.1
  • Webb, Katie J.1
  • 1 University of California Davis, Tahoe Environmental Research Center, 291 Country Club Drive, Incline Village, NV, 89451, USA , Incline Village (United States)
  • 2 University of Notre Dame, Department of Biological Sciences, Notre Dame, IN, 46556-0369, USA , Notre Dame (United States)
  • 3 University of Nevada Reno, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, 1664 N. Virginia St., Reno, NV, 89512, USA , Reno (United States)
  • 4 University of California, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, Davis, CA, 95616, USA , Davis (United States)
Published Article
Environmental Management
Publication Date
Apr 05, 2012
DOI: 10.1007/s00267-012-9850-5
Springer Nature


Anoxia can restrict species establishment in aquatic systems and the artificial promotion of these conditions can provide an effective control strategy for invasive molluscs. Low abundances (2–20 m−2) of the nonnative bivalve, Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea), were first recorded in Lake Tahoe, CA–NV in 2002 and by 2010 nuisance-level population densities (>10,000 m−2) were observed. A non-chemical control method using gas impermeable benthic barriers to reduce dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations available to C. fluminea was tested in this ultra-oligotrophic natural lake. In 2009, the impact of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) sheets (9 m2, n = 6) on C. fluminea beds was tested on 1–7 day intervals over a 56 day period (August–September). At an average water temperature of 18 °C, DO concentrations under these small barriers were reduced to zero after 72 h resulting in 100 % C. fluminea mortality after 28 days. In 2010, a large EPDM barrier (1,950 m2) was applied to C. fluminea populations for 120 days (July–November). C. fluminea abundances were reduced over 98 % after barrier removal, and remained significantly reduced (>90 %) 1 year later. Non-target benthic macroinvertebrate abundances were also reduced, with variable taxon-specific recolonization rates. High C. fluminea abundance under anoxic conditions increased the release of ammonium and soluble reactive phosphorus from the sediment substrate; but levels of unionized ammonia were low at 0.004–0.005 mg L−1. Prolonged exposure to anoxia using benthic barriers can provide an effective short term control strategy for C. fluminea.

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