Zebra mussels are a small, destructive invasive species that pose a danger to lake ecosystems, utilities and infrastructure. Boaters can unknowingly transport zebra mussels from lake to lake because the larvae are microscopic and easily transported in live wells or bilges without being seen.
Zebra mussels were discovered in Lake Travis in June 2017, Lake Austin in August 2017, Lake LBJ in July 2019, and Lake Marble Falls in the fall of 2019. Live zebra mussels have not been found in the other Highland Lakes – lakes Buchanan or Inks.
Zebra mussels were discovered in the Great Lakes in June 1988. Since then, the mussels have spread to many parts of the United States. In addition to many of the Highland Lakes, zebra mussels have been detected in Lake Pflugerville, Canyon Lake, Lake Belton, Lake Waco and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir southwest of Belton, and at several lakes in North Texas.
Once zebra mussels become established in a waterbody, little can be done to stop their spread. There is no known large-scale species specific eradication method for zebra mussels.
Protect the lakes you love
Boaters must clean, drain and dry their boats to keep zebra mussels from spreading. It’s the law – with fines up to $500 for a first offense.
State regulations require all boats operating on public freshwater anywhere in Texas to be drained after use to help prevent the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species. This includes the Highland Lakes and lakes Bastrop and Fayette.