Concern rises about Zebra Mussel-affected boats on the Brazos Ri - KXXV Central Texas News Now


Concern rises about Zebra Mussel-affected boats on the Brazos River

WACO, TX (KXXV) - Zebra mussel inspections have gone up for Lake Waco, but there is a concern for extra boats on the Brazos River.

Baylor University's McLane Stadium brings a lot of change for fans including being able to boat on gamedays. This new practice started with several boats on Baylor's first home game. With these new boats, comes a concern of zebra mussels.

The city of Waco spent $33,000 for inspections of boats coming into Lake Waco over the summer. In its second year, the inspections caught 37 boats that were from infested lakes. As of early September, the lake is zebra mussel free. However, that program stopped in early August and it will not continue into the fall. That includes the boats going on the Brazos river for Baylor home games. 

Tom Conry, program manager for city of Waco, says while the city had several meetings to prepare for the stadium, they did not think about zebra mussels.

"Well it is a concern and we did not plan for that. We were more concerned with safety," Conry said. 

Even thought it wasn't thought about, Conry says it still could be disastrous if these extra boats bring in zebra mussels. 

"So it's a tremendous ecological disaster," Conry said. 

Conry says it would be even more disastrous in the Brazos River because there are so many fresh water mussels that are good for the river. The zebra mussels would eradicate some of these species that for some are already endangered. Conry also says the mollusk would spread downstream to where the river flows into the Gulf of Mexico. 

However, Conry says many Texans already know about the dangers of zebra mussels.

"I think Texans over the past two years have really become aware of zebra mussels," Conry said. 

To learn more about zebra mussels click here.

Conry says there are signs up for boaters on access ramps to clean, drain and dry your boats. Conry says they weren't thinking about having inspectors on the river for gamedays, but after getting asked the question they're now looking into it. 

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