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Media Advisory - Zebra Mussel Conference Media Briefing

                               MN SEA GRANT
                              MEDIA ADVISORY
DATE: 4/14/99                                         CONTACT: Marie Zhuikov
                                                      PHONE: (218) 726-7677

               Aquatic Nuisance Species Conference Media Briefing

               9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., Monday, April 26, 1999
             Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, Duluth, MN

WHAT:  A briefing on research presented at the Ninth International Zebra Mussel 
and Aquatic Nuisance Species Conference. This conference is considered the most 
comprehensive forum for experts to present results concerning impacts of marine 
and freshwater aquatic nuisance species. It is being held at the Duluth 
Entertainment Convention Center (DECC) April 26-30, 1999.

WHERE:  Split Rock Room -- DECC, Duluth, MN, 350 Harbor Drive. One hour of 
presentations, including questions and answers. Conference abstracts and related
materials available on-site. Submissions for the youth poster contest, and 
specimens of various exotic species will be in the briefing room.

WHO:  A conference keynote speaker (science advisor to the Secretary of the 
Interior) will make a statement, followed by five national leaders in aquatic 
nuisance species research, who will present their latest findings.  Topics will 

-  using chili pepper-based paints on boats to deter zebra mussel attachment
-  using zebra mussels to filter livestock waste
-  using pheromones to control sea lamprey and ruffe
-  how Eurasian ruffe impact yellow perch in experimental enclosures
-  what's up with zebra mussels in the Duluth-Superior Harbor

See more information about briefing speakers below.

WHY: Although zebra mussels are the most widely known aquatic nuisance species 
(ANS), dozens of others require attention because they are causing significant 
damage to marine and freshwater resources and to the economies that depend upon 
them.  That's why the conference features nearly two dozen aquatic invasive 
species, and special ruffe and round goby sessions. Participants and speakers 
will share the latest findings, technology, management strategies, and public 
education programs related to ANS prevention and control.  This year's 
conference takes a proactive look at some controversial topics, including the 
future use of chlorine for ANS control, the pros and cons of biological 
controls, and ballast water control technology and policy. Each year the 
conference attracts about 400 participants from across the United States, Canada
and other countries, who will have the opportunity to listen to nearly 125 

NEWS ANGLES:  Earth Day is April 22, within the same week as the conference.  
ANS are considered "biological pollution," which is certainly a timely Earth Day
topic. If you're looking for a more positive spin, several briefing speakers 
will discuss natural control measures to deter these nuisance species, and ways 
ANS can be used to help the environment. This briefing and the conference will 
provide convenient access and information to reporters about current ANS 


Jeff Gunderson, Minnesota Sea Grant, will open with an overview of the 
conference, followed by keynote speaker, William Brown, Science Advisor to the 
Secretary. Brown will give a short version of his speech about how the 
Department of the Interior is taking the lead to implement the new Executive 
Order on Alien Invasive Species.

Mary Balcer, University of Wisconsin-Superior, will talk about zebra mussel 
population dynamics in the Duluth-Superior Harbor. The excessively mild winter 
of 1997-98 resulted in unprecedented numbers of zebra mussels. Balcer is 
currently investigating whether these young mussels were able to survive the 
winter of 1998-99, which could cause another population boom.

Lorenzo Torres, an independent researcher and consultant working with the New 
Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and MEDD4, Houston, TX,  will talk 
about the successful bonding process he developed that allows capsaicin 
(trans-8-methyl-N-vanillyl-5-neomide), the pungent active ingredient found in 
dried chile peppers, to be used as an anti-fouling agent in paints, stains, 
plastics and other rubberized materials.

Richard Steffan, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, will discuss 
initial positive findings about the ability of zebra mussels to filter and treat
swine wastes.

Peter Sorensen, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, will talk about how sea 
lamprey can be literally "led by the nose" into traps by putting pheromones into
the rivers where they congregate to spawn.  This is being considered as an 
alternative to lamprey control via chemical toxins.  Sorensen is also 
investigating similar control methods for the Eurasian ruffe and the round goby,
both nuisance fish.

Jeffrey Schuldt, Natural Resources Research Institute, University of Minnesota 
Duluth, will discuss what ecological impacts ruffe may have on native Great 
Lakes fish.  Schuldt found that ruffe had a negative effect on food resources 
and yellow perch growth when they were kept in experimental enclosures.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BRIEFING: Contact Marie Zhuikov, Minnesota Sea 
Grant, by e-mail at mzhuikov@d.umn.edu, phone (218) 726-7677, or FAX (218) 

briefing by 5 p.m. (central time), Thursday, April 22 by contacting Marie 
Zhuikov (see information above).  The briefing is free.  A reduced registration 
fee of $240 is available for reporters who wish to attend the full conference.  
To register for the conference, contact Elizabeth Muckle-Jeffs, conference 
administrator, at 1-800-868-8776.

TO CONTACT CONFERENCE SPEAKERS ON-SITE: Call (218) 722-5573, Extension 162, and 
ask for the media contact person.

Jensen, Minnesota Sea Grant, at (218) 726-8106.

CONFERENCE SPONSORS:  The conference is hosted by the University of Minnesota 
Sea Grant Program.  Co-sponsors are: California Sea Grant College System, 
Canadian Coast Guard, Canadian Ship Owners Association, Canada's Department of 
Fisheries and Oceans, Electric Power Research Institute, Lake Carriers' 
Association, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service, 
Northern States Power Company, Ontario Hydro, Seaway Port Authority of Duluth, 
Tennessee Valley Authority Technology Advancement, Upper Mississippi River 
Conservation Committee, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Bureau of 
Reclamation, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.