Zebra Mussels Have Arrived in Lake Austin

Zebra Mussels
photo via Creative Commons

Earlier this summer, zebra mussels were discovered at Lake Travis. Now they’ve made it to Lake Austin.

Staff from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the City of Austin first made the discovery of adult zebra mussels (attached to marina floatation devices and a barge near the Walsh Boat Landing) earlier this month. More info>>

As you might remember, zebra mussels are a rapidly producing invasive species that were first found in Texas in 2009. Since then, they have infested 11 lakes. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, “Zebra mussels can cover shoreline rocks and litter beaches with treacherously sharp shells, clog public-water intakes, and damage boats and motors left in infested waters.” This can have serious and expensive impacts on Texas reservoirs and lakes.

So what comes next?
Although zebra mussels have technically been discovered in Lake Austin, it is not yet known whether Lake Austin has an established, reproducing population of them (aka – whether or not it’s infested). Biologists will continue to monitor the situation, but in the meantime, they’re encouraging the public to do two things:

  • Tell Texas Parks and Wildlife if you find zebra mussels in Lake Austin (as well as where you find them)
  • Always remember to clean, drain, and dry your boat. This includes fishing boats, wakeboarding and ski boats, personal watercraft, sailboats, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and canoes. Texas Parks and Wildlife is also encouraging anyone on Lady Bird Lake to clean, drain, and dry their kayaks, paddle boards, or canoes as well.

How do I clean, drain, and dry my boat?

  • Clean – When you remove your boat from the water, always remember to remove any vegetation or zebra mussels from the outside.
  • Drain – Be sure to drain all of the water from the boat (including from the motor, bilge, livewells, and bait buckets) before leaving the lake.
  • Dry – Allow your boat to completely dry before entering another body of water. And if you don’t have time to let it dry, be sure to wash it thoroughly before traveling to another lake.

More information about how you can help prevent the spread of zebra mussels is available here>>

Looking for even more info? Check out this podcastfrom our radio partner, Shades of Green. This show was originally recorded in June of this year, when zebra mussels were first found in Lake Travis.

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