AUSTIN — They're about the size of a dime, but they're causing a big problem. Zebra mussels have now infested yet another Central Texas lake.
As of last week, Lady Bird Lake joined the list of infested lakes in Central Texas, which includes Lake Travis, Lake Austin and Lake Georgetown, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Earlier this summer, biologists found a reproducing population at Lady Bird Lake. They'd been monitoring the issue since February, when researchers found evidence of zebra mussels at least once. At the time, TPWD classified the lake as "suspect."
Zebra mussels are invasive. They can change how clear the water is and can cause harmful algae blooms. They can even damage boats and motors left in infested water.
Since February, the City of Austin has urged recreational users in Lady Bird Lake to make sure that all kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, water shoes, bait buckets, etc., are thoroughly drained and dried before taking them to another body of water, like Barton Springs Pool, to prevent the spread.
TPWD has detected zebra mussels downstream of Lady Bird Lake. While the Colorado River's fast-moving waters can spread them faster and farther than usual, the Lower Colorado River Authority told KVUE they are less likely to survive that journey because of current flooding conditions.