NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It's been less than a year that zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Ray Roberts. Today the United States Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed the destructive mollusks have been found in Lewisville Lake.
Until now, zebra mussels had only been confirmed in Lake Texoma and Lake Ray Roberts in North Texas.
A USGS biologist discovered a live juvenile zebra mussel in an area near the dam. The researcher believed this infestation is a result of contaminated, improperly cleaned boats from other infested lakes being put into the water on Lewisville Lake. The mussels could also have ben transported downstream from Lake Ray Roberts.
Zebra mussels can have a devastating effect on Texas reservoirs by clogging water pipes, damaging boats and making water recreation vehicles hazardous.
The mussels also lessen the baitfish population, in turn affecting their predators – fish like bass, catfish and stripe bass.
Now that the invasive species has been confirmed in Lewisville Lake there are concerns the popularity of the lake will increase the likelihood that boaters will transport the mussels from Lewisville to other non-infested lakes.
Last year Brian VanZee, with Texas Parks and Wildlife, explained, "One adult zebra mussel is about the size of a dime or so. But one zebra mussel can spawn up to a million eggs a year. So they're very prolific and they can spread very, very quickly."
Scientists say since the mussels are such proliferate breeders, it only takes a few years for them to overwhelm a waterway.
Spread of the species can be greatly decreased if boaters make sure that boats used in zebra mussel-infested waters are not used in any other body of water until they are cleaned, drained and dried.
Zebra mussels are very small and their larvae microscopic, so while you may not be able to see them the mussels can still be clinging to livewell tanks, bait buckets and other parts of a boat or trailer.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith said once zebra mussels are established "there is no known way to get rid of them."
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