The War On Zebra Mussels Begins

Categories: Environment

Thumbnail image for Zebra Mussel 1.jpg
Flexing the new muscle given to it by the Legislature last session, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission enacted sweeping new rules Thursday to halt the seemingly inexorable takeover of Texas lakes by zebra mussels.

Since the Eurasian bivalves incursion into Lake Texoma in 2009, they've spread steadily southward, to lakes Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Lavon and, most recently, Lake Belton, just an hour north of Austin. They've moved into the Trinity River below Ray Roberts, and the Red River, below Texoma. All five of the Great Lakes belong to the zebra mussels, as do the Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio River Basins.

The new rules apply to 17 North Texas counties, including Dallas and Tarrant, dictating stringent practices surrounding the transport of fish, bait and water. Anglers must drain bilges, motors, live wells -- anything containing water -- before and after they launch into lakes in any of these counties. Live bait can be used only in the water where it was caught.

The precautions are necessary because the hitchhiking zebra mussels are often transported from one lake to another in the microscopic form of larvae, called veligers. Once established, they colonize and clog water intake valves, damage boat hulls and disrupt ecosystems.

Their arrival in Lake Belton has apparently alarmed the commission enough that it is considering adding 28 North and Central Texas counties to the boat-draining mandate, as far south as Travis and Comal counties. Click here for the full list. The mandate, according to TPWD, will kick in either this December or January.

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ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

Well, looks like the voluntary program worked really well.

The only thing to do is once your boat has been in an infested lake, you can only go in an infested lake.

I am willing to bet that within 10 years, there will not be such a thing as a Galveston Bay oyster.

Sotiredofitall topcommenter

"boat-draining mandate"   Good luck with all that

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

It was already too late by the time sombody spotted the very first one.

We might as well get used to our new zebra mussel overlords - they are here to stay.


Well, if the war on zebra mussels goes as well as the war on drugs has, we should have this cleared up right quick.


Fine. Who exactly is going to enforce it? "Pretty please Mr. Redneck and Mr. Douchey Southlake guy make sure you don't have any evil zebra mussels on your boat." 

Is the Lege going to find money to put inspectors at each and every boat launch in the aforementioned counties? Highly unlikely. Been around a lake on Labor day? 


It would almost be humorous if it weren't so sad.

The very same week the State of Texas asks it's residents to spend $2b to address water issues via ballot initiative it finally ends a 4 year quest to find a half assed solution that everyone knows won't work regarding preventable water issues.

But hey, I'm sure they'll have a zebra muscle eradication program ready to go in a decade for $4b that Governor Abbott will want us to pay for.


Kind of like closing the barn door after the horses are gone.  Why wasn't this done years ago?

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