Cooperatove Conservation Project

Help Us Stop the Spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species

100th Meridian Initiative

Location: National

Project Summary: A cooperative effort between Federal, provincial, state, regional, and local agencies and many other stakeholders to prevent the westward spread aquatic nuisance species in North America.
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David K. Britton U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Resource Challenge

Non-native aquatic nuisance species cause severe ecological and economic damage to invaded areas. The poster species for the 100th Meridian Initiative is the zebra mussel, a freshwater bivalve mollusk native to the Black and Caspian Sea drainages.  In North America, east of 100 degrees west longitude, zebra mussels, have negatively impacted aquatic ecosystems by out-competing other filter feeders and harming native organisms (including already imperiled indigenous mussels). Zebra mussels clog municipal and industrial raw-water pipes, requiring millions of dollars annually to treat. This cost is passed on to consumers in increased utility bills.  Zebra mussels are a nuisance to boaters because they clog cooling systems, jam steering equipment, and adhere to hulls, increasing drag and requiring frequent scraping and repainting.  Established zebra mussel populations overwhelm local waters and cover beaches with foul smelling dead shells that are dangerously sharp, sometimes ruining popular recreational areas. 


The principal objectives of the 100th Meridian Initiative are to: 1) prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species beyond the 100th meridian jurisdictions and into the west and, 2) monitor and control zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species if detected in these areas. To achieve these goals, 100th Meridian Initiative participants:

  1. Inform and educate the public about the biology, impact, and pathways for spreading aquatic nuisance species and what actions they can take to prevent further spread. 
  2. Conduct voluntary boat inspections and boater surveys to prevent westward spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species. 
  3. Prevent the transport of zebra mussels on boats and related equipment hauled commercially or for professional fishing tournaments by reaching out to and involving those who haul boats for commercial purposes.
  4. Establish monitoring sites on waters west of the 100th meridian to determine the presence or absence of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species.
  5. Develop and encourage rapid response actions designed to eradicate or contain zebra mussels if detected.
  6. Determine additional pathways and evaluate risk through study and/or research programs, including development of specific plans of action to address any identified potential risk. 

  7. Evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of the 100th Meridian Initiative in preventing the westward spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species to ensure that the primary objectives are being accomplished.

Examples of Key Partners
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. National Park Service
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Manitoba Conservation
  • Arizona Game & Fish Department
  • Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management
  • Portland State University
  • The University of Texas at Arlington
  • Oregon State University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
  • Minnesota Sea Grant
  • Oregon Sea Grant
  • Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
  • Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
  • Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
  • Oklahoma Fishery Research Laboratory
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon State Marine Board
  • Idaho Fish and Game
  • North Dakota Game and Fish
  • Nevada Division of Wildlife
  • Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
  • Iowa Department of Natural Resources
  • Missouri Department of Conservation
  • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
  • Southern Nevada Water Authority Resources Department
  • Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • California Department of Water Resources
  • South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks
  • Bonneville Power Authority
  • The Franciscan Earth Literacy Center
  • Oregon Bass & Panfish Club
  • Lake Mead Boater Owner’s Association
  • Lake Mead Marina
  • Forever Resorts, NV
  • Seven Crown Resorts, NV 
Results and Accomplishments
  • Interviewed 11,300 boaters in over 14 western states and Manitoba, Canada

  • Inspected 11,140 boats for presence of aquatic nuisance species

  • Initiated regional working groups for the Missouri River Basin, Colorado River Basin, Columbia River Basin, Canada, and California/Nevada

  • Attracted participation from the local, state, regional, federal and international levels

  • Have, thus far, prevented the spread of zebra mussels west of the 100th Meridian


Public education and outreach has helped make the public more aware of zebra mussels and associated problems. Consequently, informed westerners have stopped infested boats before launching at several freshwater sites west of the 100th Meridian, including locations in Washington, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and California, potentially preventing the establishment of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species and their subsequent impacts within non-infested drainage systems.

Project Contact
David Britton
Asst. Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
UTA Box 19498
Arlington, TX 76019
817 272-3714
Don MacLean
Invasive Species Coordinator
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Division of Environmental Quality Branch of Invasive Species 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 300 (Mailstop 322)
Arlington, VA 22203
703 358-2108

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