Zebra Mussels


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 and in Lake Austin in August 2017. They were discovered in nearby Canyon Lake earlier in June 2017, Lake Belton in 2013, Lake Waco in 2014 and Stillhouse Hollow Reservoir southwest of Belton in 2016. The mussels also have infested lakes in North Texas.

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Once zebra mussels become established in a watershed, little can be done to stop their spread. There is no known wide-scale eradication method for zebra mussels.

Live zebra mussels have not been found in the other Highland Lakes.

Report zebra mussel sightings. 

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.

  1. Clean

    Inspect your boat, trailer and gear, and remove any zebra mussels, vegetation or foreign objects.

  2. Drain

    Drain all water from the boat, including from the engine, bilge, live wells and bait buckets, before leaving the lake.

  3. Dry

    Open all compartments and live wells, and allow the boat and trailer to sit completely dry for a week or more before entering another water body; or wash your boat, trailer and any gear that has been in the lake with a high-pressure washer and hot (at least 140-degree), soapy water.

Learn more about zebra mussels

Visit the Texas Invasives website to learn more about zebra mussels, including what they look like, the threat, their origin and their history in the United States.