Texas Parks and Wildlife Department urges boaters to take precautions
KINGSLAND, Texas – There are 27 lakes in Texas that are classified as being infested with an invasive species known as zebra mussels, including Lake Lyndon B. Johnson.
Recently, a homeowner in the Kingsland area shared a photo to social media showing a float her family keeps in the water at Lake LBJ that’s completely covered in zebra mussels.
“I had heard rumors that there were some in Lake LBJ but had not seen them myself,” said homeowner Sarah Entzminger. “This was the first time I have seen them.”
Entzminger said she hadn’t contacted Texas Parks and Wildlife officials but she was able to alert her surrounding neighbors.
“Zebra mussels can wreak havoc on a family lake. They multiply quickly and are sharp and can cut up feet on ladders,” Entzminger said. “They gather and plug up waterways and pump systems. This is a sad situation for our beautiful lake LBJ.”
According to TPWD officials, zebra mussels arrived in North America sometime in the late 1980s and spread like wildfire via the Mississippi River and have traveled overland on boats as far as California.
A news release from TPWD said established and reproducing populations of zebra mussels were found in Lake LBJ in August of 2019.
“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,” TPWD senior scientist Monica McGarrity said.
Texans can protect other river basins and prevent zebra mussels from spreading more quickly to other reservoirs by being extremely diligent about cleaning, draining and drying their boats and other gear every time they visit any lake or river,” McGarrity said.
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Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.