According to a news release from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Lake Austin, or the section of the Colorado River that is directly upstream from the Tom Miller Dam, was reclassified as infested, confirming an established, reproducing population. Several adult mussels and larvae were identified at multiple locations, including at Capital of Texas Highway’s Pennybacker Bridge and the Tom Miller Dam, located on Lake Austin Boulevard near Redbud Trail.
The Lower Colorado River Authority also found larvae in a sample from Lady Bird Lake, resulting in the lake being classified as “suspect” for infestation. Lady Bird Lake represents the portion of the Colorado River that travels through downtown Austin.
The zebra mussel is a highly invasive marine animal, native to the Black and Caspian seas. The species can clog a pipe up to 18 inches in diameter, exacting costly harm to boats and any facility or pump that is using raw surface water, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
According to the release, 14 water bodies in five river basins are listed as infested with zebra mussels; five water bodies are listed as positive, meaning zebra mussels have been detected on more than one occasion; and three water bodies are suspected of having zebra mussels.
Swimmers and boaters are encouraged to thoroughly clean and dry all swimsuits, water shoes and other gear after being in Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake or Lake Travis, according to the city of Austin.