UPDATED: 12:18 p.m.
Zebra mussels have been discovered in Lake Pflugerville, according to an Aug. 12 news release by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The species has also been found in Lake Lyndon B. Johnson in northwest Austin, the release confirmed.
TPWD confirmed that zebra mussels had been found in Lake Pflugerville during a routine survey conducted by Inland Fisheries staff, who said they found adult mussels attached to vegetation.
“If you are going to be recreating on these and other lakes in Texas, it is essential to make the effort to prevent zebra mussels from spreading further,” said Monica McGarrity, TPWD Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species Management, in the release.
Zebra mussels are an invasive, fresh water species that multiply quickly and attach themselves to different underwater surfaces, posing a threat to water infrastructure and native species. Seventeen Texas lakes in five river basins were classified as infected with zebra mussels, as of August 2019.
Pflugerville City Council Members approved a $51,000 contract to combat the invasive species in March, with measures to prevent the mussels from clogging or damaging water pipes and affecting the city’s water treatment. The species was found on a pump last fall at Lake Pflugerville’s intake tower, but this is the first instance of a confirmed presence in the lake.
“The City works closely with our partners at Texas Parks and Wildlife to preserve our Lake Pflugerville water reservoir and monitor invasive species like zebra mussels which first appeared in September 2018 in the water intake from the Colorado River,” City Spokesperson Maggie Holman said in an email to Community Impact Newspaper. “Staff is working to mitigate zebra mussels at the City’s Colorado River Pump Station and Lake Pflugerville Pump Station.”
Pflugerville currently uses divers to detect zebra mussels in Lake Pflugerville and is also in the process of designing a system aimed at mitigating the effects of the mussels on its pump station equipment, Holman added. Signage will be posted at the lake to warn park attendees of the effects of mussels, as well as to caution swimmers to check their surroundings and for boat motors to properly clean off their boats with each use.
A status map and full list of infected lakes can be found on the TPWD’s website.