Environment
4:28 pm
Tue January 21, 2014

Zebra Mussels Have Invaded Lake Lavon, U.S. Geological Survey Says

Add another lake to the list of bodies of water in Texas that have been infested with zebra mussels.

The U.S. Geological Survey has confirmed the presence of zebra mussels in Lake Lavon – and the invasive species appears to be on the move.

The presence of live zebra mussels or their larvae had already been confirmed in five other Texas locations: Lakes Texoma, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Bridgeport and Belton.

The USGS tests also detected zebra mussel DNA in Lake Grapevine, Lake Fork and Lake Tawakoni. That doesn’t necessarily mean that those lakes are infested. But it could indicate that boaters are inadvertently moving zebra mussels or zebra mussel DNA from lake to lake, the USGS says.

A news release from Texas Parks and Wildlife states: “Robert McMahon, professor emeritus of biology at the University of Texas at Arlington, says that while this news is of concern, he suspects that Lake Fork cannot sustain a zebra mussel population because of low levels of calcium, which the mussels use to construct their shells. He believes that Lake Tawakoni is likely more susceptible.”

Lake Lavon has long been monitored for the presence of zebra mussels.

A team of USGS scientists has monitored North Texas reservoirs and rivers for juvenile and adult zebra mussels and the presence of zebra mussel DNA, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife release.

Zebra mussels cover boats and motors, clog public-water intake pipes and water-cooling systems. Their razor-sharp shells can also make water recreation hazardous.

The USGS will conduct a follow-up survey at Lake Lavon later this month and will resume routine sampling this spring at several lakes across North Texas.

Zebra mussels were first discovered in 2006 in Lake Texoma, transported from out-of-state boats. In 2009, Lake Texoma became the first lake in Texas to become infested.

Learn more about zebra mussels.