NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Recent test on 14 North Texas reservoirs shows Zebra Mussels appear to be contained to one lake, but state authorities still want boaters to take precautions to prevent their spread.
“Right now the only strong, viable population of Zebra Mussels that we have in the state is in Lake Texoma,” explained Brian Van Zee, with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
While there have been no other infestations, the fear is that the species could be transferred to other lakes by boaters who have been on Lake Texoma.
“A boat owner that has adult Zebra Mussels infest on their boat, they can move them to pretty much anywhere within the state if they’re not careful,” Van Zee said.
Zebra Mussels are tiny aquatic life forms that stick to any smooth surface, and can gum up boat engines or even motors at municipal water pumping stations.
During the latest tests Zebra Mussel DNA did turn up in six of the lakes, but officials said the amount wasn’t enough to indicate that actual Zebra Mussels were present.
Lakes involved in the study included — Eagle Mountain, Lewisville, Lavon, Ray Hubbard, Ray Roberts, Arrowhead, Bridgeport, Tawakoni, Caddo, Wright Patman, Fork, Lake O’ the Pines, Caddo and Texoma.
Boaters are being asked to take a little extra time and make sure they aren’t transporting the species.
“They can do a lot by just taking three simple steps: clean, drain and dry their boat,” said Van Zee. “When they pull the boat up out of the water at Lake Texoma simply just do a walk around inspection.”
To prevent further spread of the species, Texas Parks and Wildlife is proposing new regulations governing the movement of boats or fish between North Texas lakes.