Lakes in Texas and in other states are getting infested with these creepy-looking things. They attach themselves to boats and hitch a ride to infest other lakes.  But what are they and how do you stop them?

According to USGS.gov

Zebra mussels are invasive, fingernail-sized mollusk. Experts think they arrived in the Great Lakes in the 1980s by large ships from Europe. They have spread rapidly throughout that area and now have been found in Texas, Arkansas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California.

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Zebra mussels ruin the lake ecosystem. They filter out algae that native species need for food. They also clog water intakes from our power plants.

 

Brian Van Zee, TPWD Inland Fisheries Regional Director said in a press release;

"Unfortunately, zebra mussels have now spread to 34 Texas lakes, with 28 fully infested, but there are far more lakes that still haven’t been invaded and are at risk,”

 

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Boaters can help stop the spread of these invaders, by following TPWD guidelines and regulations to limit further spread to other reservoirs

Boaters are urged to clean, drain and dry their boats and gear before traveling from lake to lake.

 

Zebra mussels are most often transported on or in boats, boaters play a critical role in preventing them from spreading to new lakes. Zebra mussels attach to boats and anything left in the water, including anchors, and can survive for days out of water, often hiding in crevices where they may not be seen easily.

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 Clean, Drain and Dry Your Boats

 

Their larvae are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye and can be unknowingly transported in residual water in boats. Boaters are urged to clean, drain and dry their boats and gear before traveling from lake to lake.

 

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The TPWD recommends removing plants, mud and debris, drain all the water from the boat and gear, and then open up compartments once you get home and allow everything to dry completely for at least a week if possible. If you have stored your boat in the water at a lake with zebra mussels or purchased a boat stored on one of these lakes, it is likely infested with zebra mussels and poses an extremely high risk for moving this invasive species to a new lake. Before moving your boat to another lake, call TPWD at (512) 389-4848 for guidance on decontamination.

 Transporting prohibited invasive species in Texas is illegal and punishable with a fine of up to $500 per violation

 

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The transport of aquatic invasive species can result in legal trouble for boaters or transporters. Transporting prohibited invasive species in Texas is illegal and punishable with a fine of up to $500 per violation. Boaters are also required to drain all water from their boat and onboard receptacles, including bait buckets, before leaving or approaching a body of freshwater.

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If you see zebra mussels on a boat, trailer or any equipment that is being moved should immediately report the sighting to TPWD at (512) 389-4848. TPWD and partners monitor for zebra mussels in Texas lakes, but anyone who finds them in lakes where they haven’t been found before should report them immediately by emailing photos and location information to AquaticInvasives@tpwd.texas.gov.

A status map showing all lakes where zebra mussels have been found in Texas is online at tpwd.texas.gov/ZebraMussels. Check out the short video below on how to clean drain and dry your boat and equipment.

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