Zebra mussels found in Lake Austin

Zebra Mussels

An alert fisherman found a rock with one adult zebra mussel attached and reported it to KDWPT staff in the Tuttle Creek State Park office.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said mussels were found August 9 on flotation devices and a barge in the 1,589-acre reservoir on the lower Colorado River. They say the mussels can attach themselves to boats and other aquatic equipment and their microscopic larvae can be found in the water of infested lakes.

"Both Lake Austin and Lake Travis have a lot of boating traffic and a lot of use", said Brian Van Zee, Inland Fisheries regional director.

Zebra mussels, which can clog water pipes, damage boat motors and affect other aquatic life, were first found in Texas in 2009 at Lake Texoma, spanning Texas and Oklahoma.

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Drain livewells and bilges and remove drain plugs from all vessels prior to transport from any Kansas water on a public highway.

Expect to see more signs reminding boaters to do just that, TPWD reports.

Tuttle Creek Reservoir, the connected downstream Tuttle Creek River Pond, and the Big Blue River downstream from the lake to the confluence with the Kansas River (including Rocky Ford) will be added to the list of ANS-designated waters in Kansas, and notices will be posted at various locations around the waterbodies.

"Passive downstream spread is a concern any time we have an infested reservoir, but boats can move adult mussels to a lake much quicker", said Monica McGarrity, TPWD aquatic invasive species team lead in a statement. Boaters are required to drain all water from their boat and onboard receptacles before leaving or approaching fresh water to prevent the transfer of zebra mussels. Kayakers and paddle boarders in Lady Bird Lake should thoroughly clean their crafts to avoid spreading the zebra mussels.

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