They have arrived. The dreaded zebra mussel has officially been found in Lake Travis.
What are zebra mussels?
Zebra mussels are a rapidly producing invasive species that were first found in Texas in 2009. Since then, they have spread to 11 lakes, now including Lake Travis.
Why are people worried about them?
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.
How do we prevent them from spreading even further?
One of the main concerns now is that the zebra mussels could spread into Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake. This can happen in two ways. First, the zebra mussel larvae could simply flow downstream into these nearby rivers. However, according to Monica McGarrity, TPWD Aquatic Invasive Species team lead, the more immediate risk is that the zebra mussels will attach to boats and spread from lake to lake.
Here’s how to prevent zebra mussels from spreading through your 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.