AUSTIN – Less than two months after zebra mussels were positively identified in Lake Travis, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced that Lake Austin has tested positive for the invasive species.
TPWD said a single zebra mussel larva was identified from a plankton sample near Tom Miller Dam, TPWD Inland Fisheries and the city of Austin on Aug. 9 found “several half-inch adult zebra mussels on multiple marina floatation devices and a barge near the Walsh Boat Landing. TPWD added biologists cannot determine whether the mussels in Lake Austin is the result of downstream spread from Lake Travis or the result of an infested boat entering the lake.
“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.
“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. “We really need all boaters to be diligent in their ‘clean, drain and dry’ efforts. Before leaving a lake, all boaters need to remove their drain plugs and be sure to pump as much water out of the ballast tanks, livewells and bilges as possible because zebra mussel larvae can survive in very little water."
Lake Austin is the third Central Texas reservoir where zebra mussels have been found this year. Lake Austin covers nearly 1,600 acres and has seven boat ramps, TPWD said.
Residents are reminded that it is illegal to possess or transport zebra mussels, dead or alive. 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.
In addition, TPWD is advising those who use Lady Bird Lake/Town Lake to take care to clean, drain and dry kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and any other equipment that comes into contact with the lake before putting them in another body of water.
Since zebra mussels were first found in Texas in 2009, 11 lakes in five river basins have been infested, meaning they have an established, reproducing population.
TAP HERE to learn more about preventing the spread of zebra mussels.
RELATED: What is a zebra mussel?