Zebra Mussels' Takeover of Texas Quickly Becoming Inexorable

NOAA
A zebra mussel-encrusted current meter pulled from Lake Michigan.
The war for Texas' lakes continues apace, though it doesn't look like wildlife officials are holding the line. Despite the state's best efforts to get us to just dump the damned water out of our boats, zebra mussels may have established beachheads in two more North Texas lakes.

DNA from the hardy Eurasian mollusk, terror of aquatic ecosystems and water infrastructure, has been identified in Joe Pool Lake and Lake Worth. So far, no adult zebra mussels or their larvae, called veligers, have been found. They were discovered last week, however, in Lake Belton, south of Waco, by an alert Texas Mussel Watch volunteer who spotted one clinging to the shell of a giant floater mussel. Texas Parks and Wildlife discovered they were already well-established in Lake Belton.

"This is very discouraging news for a several reasons," said inland fisheries director Brian Van Zee. "Not only does this mark the first time that zebra mussels have been documented in the Brazos River basin, this new infestation is nearly 200 miles south of where zebra mussels are currently found in Texas. Unfortunately, this means that lakes in the central portion of the state are at even greater risk."

In response, TPWD's executive director signed an emergency order Wednesday adding Lake Belton and nearby Stillhouse Hollow to a host of infected North Texas lakes covered by special regulations enacted to slow the mussel's spread. The agency on November 7 will consider a proposal to include a 17-county swath of North Texas in the emergency rules pertaining to the draining of bilges and live wells, and the use of bait.

Lakes Lewisville, Ray Roberts, Texoma, Bridgeport and Eagle Mountain are already among those with healthy populations of zebra mussels. The exotic mollusk arrived in North America in the '80s, and quickly colonized the Great Lakes and the Mississippi, Tennessee, Hudson and Ohio river basins.

Now, they want our lakes. Learn here how to stop them.


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19 comments
Annonymous
Annonymous

One foe to the zebra mussel is the crayfish. Fill the lakes with crawdads. They will eat the mussels, and Texas will have one heck of a crawdad feast. 

susanwilliams407
susanwilliams407

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Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

Go to any area lake; observe the boat ramp activity.  Now tell me how much faith you have that most of these folks will drain and wash their boats?

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Batter-Deep fried Zebra mussels with milk chocolate dip on the side.  The crowd at the State Fair would cause a run on the lakes . . . with illegal roadside stands somewhere near Gun Barrel City.  We already eat mud bugs and think how hard those critters are to eat.  

Or give the recipe a trendy fast casual roll out persona and they'd show up on the food trucks at Clyde Warren Park.  Call it The Clyde.

Texans can eat their way out of any situation, and that ain't no brag.  We can do it.

ruddski
ruddski

They make great chowder.

ElFlaco714
ElFlaco714

I for one welcome our new mollusk overlords.  I’d like to remind them that as a trusted interweb personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to…toil in their underwater sugar caves.

rusknative
rusknative

another open border issue......!!!!

JohnSmallBerries
JohnSmallBerries

Like I said, Texas rednecks and their boats are going to say, "Those rules aren't for me."

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

If they want to keep them out of the Colorado, they need to just turn that system into a cordon sanitare.  If no boats can go into the Colorado lakes if they've ever been in another body of water unless they've been inspected and tagged.

Tim.Covington
Tim.Covington

The problem is, the zebra mussels are like an infectious disease. It takes just one boater not following proper procedure to spread them to another lake or river. And, since this was just discovered with a full infection at Lake Belton, this means they have already been spread by unsuspecting boaters to other lakes.

To be honest, they need to be treated like an STD. This means convincing boaters to treat every body of water as if it is infected and always follow the procedures for cleaning their boats every time they pull them out of the water.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Well, so much for expecting boat owners to voluntarily drain their bilges and wash off their boats when transporting their boats from an infested lake to a non infested lake.

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

@Sotiredofitall And as posted bellow it only take a few contaminated boats or bait buckets to spread.  I think within a few years all the lakes in the area will be contaminated.  So I would hope people are ready to deal with them.  How do areas that already have them cope?

rusknative
rusknative

@James_the_P3 hey, we can't even control illegals coming into the nation from our borders...who is going to "inspect and tags" some little boats?

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