SAN ANGELO, Texas – Since the presence of Zebra Mussels was recently confirmed in O.H. Ivie, Lake Nasworthy and Twin Buttes have been placed on active monitoring by Texas Parks and Wildlife. Zebra Mussels can cling to and clog water lines, making them a major hazard to area lakes since local communities depend on that water supply. Additionally, as filter feeders, they can drastically disrupt the food chain. TPWD staff says Zebra Mussels cause a “cascade effect,” reducing food availability for small fish which then threatens progressively larger fish.
“Zebra Mussels are a highly invasive shellfish,” explains TPWD Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species Monica McGarrity. “They’re native to Eurasia, to the Black and Caspian Sea region, but they came to North America in the 80s to the Great Lakes. They got into the Mississippi River Basin [and] started moving around there, and then began moving overland and made their way into Texas by 2009.” The Austin, TX area has been working diligently to combat this issue since at least 2017.
This is a battle Texas has been slowly losing for over a decade now. A big reason for that, many water sport enthusiasts unknowingly transport Zebra Mussel larvae between lakes. “It is state law that when you leave a lake you need to drain all the lake water from your boat, your bilges and live wells,” said TPWD Inland Fisheries Biologist Lynn Wright. “It is now against the law to transport that water. Again, you could have Zebra Mussel larvae in that water and not even know it because you can’t see it.” Beyond draining your boat, washing it with high pressure or high temperature water can also work to rid the vessel of the larvae.