Invasive zebra mussels found in Lakes Lyndon B. Johnson, Pflugerville in Central Texas

AUSTIN – Established, reproducing populations of invasive zebra mussels have been discovered at two new lakes in Central Texas, Lake Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) in the Colorado River basin northwest of Austin and Lake Pflugerville northeast of Austin.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) biologists confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake LBJ after LCRA staff found about a dozen juvenile and adult zebra mussels near the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant in the Horseshoe Bay area July 29. Additional surveys also found juvenile and adult zebra mussels attached to structures in several other locations in the lake near Wirtz Dam, McNair Park and Kingsland Community Park and zebra mussel larvae were found in plankton samples. Zebra mussels are expected to spread downstream from Lake LBJ into Lake Marble Falls where zebra mussels haven’t been found to date.

“It is disheartening to see zebra mussels spreading higher up the chain of the Highland Lakes in the Colorado River basin, as only boats can move this invasive species upstream to uninvaded reservoirs and downstream dispersal is inevitable,” said Monica McGarrity, TPWD Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species Management. “Zebra mussels haven’t yet been found in Lakes Buchanan and Inks, upstream of Lake LBJ, but their introduction closer to these lakes reinforces how critical it is for boaters to take steps to prevent their spread.”

Lake Pflugerville, a water supply reservoir located northeast of Austin, has also been found to be infested with zebra mussels. TPWD confirmed the presence of zebra mussels at the lake after Inland Fisheries staff found adult zebra mussels attached to aquatic vegetation during a routine survey.

“If you are going to be recreating on these and other lakes in Texas, it is essential to make the effort to prevent zebra mussels from spreading further,” McGarrity said. “If you are on the lake for the day, take the time to properly clean, drain and dry your boat and gear before traveling to another lake. If you store a boat in the water on a lake with zebra mussels or work at a marina where boats are stored, please reach out to us directly to make sure proper decontamination procedures are being followed before any vessel is moved. A single mussel-fouled boat or barge can carry thousands of zebra mussels and cause a new lake to become infested.”

Read more in a press release from Texas Parks and Wildlife here.