A New Threat: Zebra Mussels

Zebra mussels have been making their way through the United States and now threaten to take over Texas waterways. Federal regulation aimed at preventing their progression has proven mostly ineffective, and they are wreaking havoc in the aquatic ecosystems they enter. So far, zebra mussels are confirmed in Lake Texoma, Lake Ray Roberts, Lake Bridgeport, Lewisville Lake, and most recently Lake Belton. The are suspected at Lake Worth and Eagle Mountain Lake, resulting in officials keeping a close eye on both lakes.

Known for the striped zebra pattern on its shell and high reproduction rate (a single female can produce over 1 million eggs per year), it does not take long for the mussel to create a noticeable impact on both the natural and manmade aspects of our waterways. Since these freshwater mussels are originally from Russia, there are no natural predators here to limit their numbers. Zebra mussels cause alarming declines in fish and aquatic plants by over-absorbing the essential food source, phytoplankton.

As larvae, zebra mussels drift aimlessly through the water until they find a hard surface to adhere; natural or manmade. Once adhered to a surface, a zebra mussel is permanently secured and will continue to grow until it reaches about two inches in length. They are known to clog water intake systems of municipal water supplies, pipelines, and power plant cooling infrastructures, costing millions of dollars to repair or replace.

Occasionally this invasive species uses rivers and lakes to reach other bodies of water, but the most common way they travel is by hitch-hiking on watercraft. Three simple steps will ensure your watercraft is free from zebra mussels and safe to take into any body of water.

1. Clean.
Remove all foreign objects and wash your watercraft thoroughly as soon as it is out of the loading area. Be sure not to miss crevices or other hidden areas. If your watercraft has been in infested waters for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to have it professionally cleaned with high-pressure scalding hot water before transporting to another body of water.

2. Drain.
Eliminate all water before leaving the area. Don’t forget the wells, ballast, and engine cooling water.

3. Dry.
Allow time for your watercraft to completely dry before launching in other waters.

Just as you work hard to keep your recreational equipment safe for use, we work hard to keep drinking water safe for consumption. Contact us to find out how we can help you with your water treatment needs.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *