AUSTIN – Invasive zebra mussels took over Hords Creek Lake in Coleman County within a month of first appearing there, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
TPWD said the lake is now designated as fully infested with the invasive species.
In April, staff with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers found one zebra mussel attached to a dam infrastructure. Subsequent surveys found multiple size classes of zebra mussels, indicating that they’ve been reproducing.
No zebra mussels were reported at Hords Creek Lake before April, but nearby O.H. Ivie and Brownwood Lakes were previously listed as infested. They’re all located just south of Abilene.
Boaters play a significant role in the spread of these mussels to new lakes, but there are steps they can take to help prevent the infestations, according to wildlife officials.
Officials said boaters can help stop the spread by removing debris from their boats, draining water and allowing gear to dry out.
“Unfortunately, zebra mussels have now spread to 35 Texas lakes, but there are far more lakes in Texas that still haven’t been invaded and are at risk,” Brian Van Zee, TPWD’s Inland Fisheries regional director, said in the release. “Each boater taking steps to clean and drain their boat before leaving the lake — and allowing compartments and gear to dry completely when they get home — can make a big difference in protecting our Texas lakes.”
In the San Antonio area, Medina Lake, Lake Placid and Canyon Lake are all designated as fully infested.
According to TexasInvasives.org, boaters could face a $500 fine for the transportation or possession of zebra mussels if they do not clean, drain and dry their boats.
TPWD is tracking the spread of the mussels in many Texas lakes. To see where they’ve been detected, you can view the department’s map here.