Texas Parks and Wildlife warns about zebra mussels

Posted at 1:18 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 21:59:30-04

Texas Parks and Wildlife wants to remind you about the dangers of zebra mussels this summer.

With lake levels at normal level compared to the past two summers, officials are keeping an eye out for more zebra mussels.

"There's plenty of nutrients and so we're seeing an increase in zebra mussel density both the young and adults in the lakes where they are present," John Tibbs, District Supervisor for the Inland Fisheries Department of TPWD.

Zebra mussels can damage boat motors and hulls and disrupt municipal water supply systems by getting inside of pipes.

"They attach to a hard surface whether its your boat, whether it's pipes that feed the drinking water, industrial pipes. They just stack up on it and attach," Tibbs said. "In the end they fill up the pipes, they damage boats so they can't run properly and overheat."

The invasive mollusk also hurts the lake.

"They basically short circuit the food web and take all of the nutrients of the water and turn it into zebra mussels," Tibbs said.

Officials said it's important to clean, drain and dry your boat after leaving the lake before going to another one. Zebra mussels can attach to your boat, trailer or gear.

Transporting zebra mussels is illegal and can cost up to $500 in fines.

At this point-- Lake Waco hasn't seen an infestation for a few years. In an effort to keep it that way, the city of Waco hired eight people to go to the boat ramps each weekend this summer to have boaters fill out a survey about where the boat was last. Park rangers are also passing out flyers to remind you to clean, drain and dry your boat.

For more information on zebra mussels and the fight against them, click here.

Copyright 2017 KXXV. All rights reserved.