Invasive zebra mussels infest Central Texas lake, likely to infest another soon

Lake Buchanan, northwest of Austin, is now infested with invasive species

Lake Buchanan (KSAT)

Lake Buchanan has officially been designated as “infested” with the invasive species known as zebra mussels.

The lake is located north of Inks Lake, which is currently not infested but it’s “likely to become infested in the near future” due to its location directly downstream from Lake Buchanan, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials.

Scientists with the Lower Colorado River Authority discovered zebra mussel larvae at three different sites around Lake Buchanan in October. Crews working on a floodgate project at the lake discovered settled zebra mussels shortly after, at the beginning of December.

Zebra mussel larvae disperse and invade bodies of water and then boats are considered a super-spreader of the invasive species.

Texans can protect other river basins and prevent zebra mussels from spreading more quickly to other reservoirs by being extremely diligent about cleaning, draining and drying their boats and other gear every time they visit any lake or river,” TPWD aquatic invasive species team leader Monica McGarrity previously told KSAT.

Zebra mussels can currently be found in 31 Texas reservoirs across five different river basins. They litter shorelines with sharp shells, impact recreation, harm aquatic life, damage boats and clog water intakes, according to TPWD officials.

“At this time, the results indicate that the population in the lake appears to be small,” McGarrity said. “However, as we have seen in other Texas lakes, the population is likely to increase rapidly over the next few years.”

TPWD is encouraging boaters and homeowners on both Lake Buchanan and Inks Lake to keep an eye out for settled zebra mussels and report any suspected organisms with photos to aquaticinvasives@tpwd.texas.gov.

If you have stored your boat in the water at a lake with zebra mussels, it is likely infested with zebra mussels and poses an extremely high risk for moving this invasive species to a new lake, TPWD officials said. Before moving your boat to another lake, call TPWD at (512) 389-4848 for guidance on decontamination.

A map showing all lakes where zebra mussels have been found in Texas can be found here.

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