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A cost-benefit analysis of preventive management for zebra and quagga mussels in the Colorado-Big Thompson System




Thomas, Catherine M., author
Bond, Craig A., advisor
Goemans, Christopher G., advisor
Champ, Patricia A., committee member
Waskom, Reagan M., committee member

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The introduction of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and quagga mussels (D. bugensis) to the western U.S. has water managers considering strategies to prevent or slow their spread. In Colorado, the Department of Wildlife (CDOW) has implemented a statewide mandatory boat inspection program. This study builds a bioeconomic model to simulate a mussel invasion and associated control costs for a connected Colorado water system, and compares the costs of the CDOW boat inspection program to the expected reduction in control costs to infrastructure. Results suggest that preventative management is effective at reducing the probability that mussels invade, but the costs may exceed the benefits of reduced control costs to infrastructure. The risk of invasion, the spatial layout of a system, the type of infrastructure, and the level of control costs associated with a system are key variables in determining net benefits of preventative management.


Department Head: Stephen P. Davies.

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