KINGSLAND, Texas — Zebra mussels are an invasive species that continue to plague Texas waterways.
The species has quickly spread through many lakes due to its microscopic larvae that are easily transported by boats and other watercraft unknowingly.
Kingsland resident Sarah Peek Entzminger got to experience first-hand how quickly the invasive species can grow. According to a Facebook post, when Entzminger flipped over the floating mat outside her lake house in June, she found a hoard of zebra mussels attached to it.
"We have flipped this mat over several times last year and found nothing," said Entzminger. "We flipped it June 2021, this is what we found. It goes to show how quickly they can multiply and infest our lakes and waters."
In June alone, three Texas lakes, Lake Brownwood, Inks Lake and Medina Lake, were designated as “infested” with the invasive species by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). Fully infested means there is an established, reproducing population of zebra mussels in the lake.
According to TPWD, the mussels have spread to 32 Texas lakes, and 27 of those are fully infested. Boats stored or purchased on one of these lakes are likely infested with zebra mussels as well and are at high risk for moving them to a new lake.
The TPWD is asking boat owners to clean, drain and dry their boats before traveling from lake to lake, as zebra mussel larvae are microscopic and can be transported by boat unknowingly.
The TPWD is tracking the spread of zebra mussels through Texas lakes on their website. Anyone who sees the invasive species moving from lake to lake or needs guidance on decontamination is asked to call the department at 512-389-4848.
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