Boaters cautioned about zebra mussel infestation

Posted at 10:28 PM, Feb 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-14 23:34:44-05

An invasive animal continues to wreak havoc on Central Texas lakes. Zebra mussels have continued to disrupt delicate ecosystems across the country.

They were recently found in Belton Lake in September, but spring is a critical time for the species.

Zebra mussels can live in cool water for extended periods of time. Once the temperature rises to between 60 and 65 degrees, they will begin to spawn.

Lakes can become infested with the animal by transferring water from a lake where zebra mussels reside. A small water bottle filled with lake water can contain thousands of microscopic juveniles. Boats can also bring along zebra mussels if the vessel is not properly cleaned, drained and dried before launching in another lake.

This is required by law in Belton Lake at all times, but is particularly critical during the spring season.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says zebra mussels were discovered in Belton Lake back in September. This marks the first time the aquatic species have been documented in the Brazos River basin. This is nearly 200 miles south of where the mussels previously were have been spotted in Texas.

Texas spent millions to spread the word about stopping the spread of zebra mussels to other area lakes. Since the campaign launched, Texas Parks and Wildlife say they believe the message is being heard. For the past year, no other lakes have been infested.

The lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating and simply enjoying the great outdoors. Texas Parks and Wildlife stress that boaters should continue to enjoy the lake, but be sure to clean their boat when moving it into another lake.

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