Invasive Zebra Mussels have been discovered in lakes and waterways in South Texas. The San Antonio River Authority has begun coordinating efforts to reduce the risk of this damaging mussel affecting the San Antonio River Watershed.
Zebra mussels are native to Russia and the Ukraine. They were first detected in the United States in the Great Lakes and Hudson River in the 1980s. Since then, they have steadily made their way across the United States by hitching rides on boats traveling between streams and lakes.
Zebra Mussels multiply rapidly, the few natural predators in Texas waterways have little effect on their spread. Infested streams and lakes have reported colonies of zebra mussels taking over habitats and nutrients from native fish and mussel colonies.
They can also interfere with recreation and wreak financial havoc on infrastructure. Recreational users may face encrusted boat hulls and mechanical systems and damage to fishing equipment. Municipal water supply intake pipes and pipelines can become fully blocked as they are colonized by zebra mussels.
The River Authority’s goal is to stop this spread from reaching the San Antonio River watershed. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and The River Authority advise both motorized and non-motorized boat recreationalists to do the following:
- Clean your watercraft, anchor, trailer, and gear. Remove any plants, animals or foreign objects.
- Drain all water from your watercraft and completely empty your bait buckets to rid them of possible microscopic zebra mussels and larvae.
- Dry everything for a week or more before entering another water body. If unable to dry it completely, wash it with high-pressure, hot (140° F), soapy water.
You can also help to stop the spread by reporting any new sightings to TPWD. Visit TPWD’s www.texasinvasives.org website to learn more.