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TPWD: Lake Marble Falls, Granger Lake infested with zebra mussels

There are currently 19 Texas lakes infested with zebra mussels, TPWD said.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has officially added Lake Marble Falls and Granger Lake to the list of lakes infested by zebra mussels.

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) biologists have confirmed that zebra mussels and their larvae have settled in multiple sites of Lake Marble Falls. 

The TPWD said that there are currently 19 lakes that are infested with zebra mussels and 10 lakes that are zebra mussels positive, meaning they've seen a mussel at least once.

Zebra mussels range from the size of a human fingernail to nearly two inches, at least in North America, and the first zebra mussel infestation in Texas dates back to 2009 in Lake Texoma, according to TPWD.

After zebra mussels were found in Lake Lyndon B. Johnson and Lake Pflugerville in July, TPWD said it was expected that they would spread downstream to Lake Marble Falls. 

"This was kind of inevitable because, unfortunately, zebra mussels were introduced into Lake LBJ upstream," said Monica McGarrrity, a senior scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species Management. "When these zebra mussels are moved upstream to a new water body or to another river basin, it’s inevitable they’re going to spread downstream.”

Zebra mussels can harm aquatic species, cover rocks, beaches, hard surfaces with sharp shells, clog water intakes, damage or increase maintenance on facilities using raw surface water and damage boats stored in lakes with zebra mussels.

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Granger Lake was previously designated as positive for zebra mussel larvae back in May, but moved to the label of "infested" after Brazos River Authority staff found adult mussels.

TPWD and LCRA want to remind lake users to take preparations and steps to avoid spreading the highly invasive species into lakes further upstream in the Colorado River or other water bodies.

"We continue to work closely with our partners at Texas Parks and Wildlife to monitor the presence of zebra mussels in the Highland Lakes," said Bryan Cook, LCRA manager of water quality protection. "It's important to do what we can to stop zebra mussels from spreading to new lakes. We encourage boaters to continue to clean, drain and dry their boats and trailers, as well as to drain all water from boats and onboard receptacles when moving from lake to lake."

TPWD also encourages boat owners and marina staff to be diligent in making sure to follow decontamination procedures before moving boats that were in contaminated waters to another. 

“Only boats can move zebra mussels upstream or into new river basins. It is important for all lake users to protect our lakes by cleaning, draining and drying their boats and equipment every time they leave the water,” said McGarrity.

If anyone finds this invasive species in new lakes, they are encouraged to contact TPWD at 512-389-4848.

It is also unlawful to possess or transport zebra mussels whether they are dead or alive. You can find more information on this species on TPWD's website.

WATCH:  Zebra mussels invasion in Austin

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