The zebra mussels first appeared in Austin’s drinking waters in 2017. They particularly attacked Lake Travis and Lake Austin. Since then, the water supplier has been trying to keep the mussel away from the pipeline infrastructure with massive effort and maintain the drinking water quality. Among other things, the installation of a chemical system that feeds liquid copper sulfate pentahydrate into water pipes should prevent zebra mussels from infecting the pipes to the water treatment system again, as happened in 2019. At the time, this led to drinking water that smelled and tasted bad. The cost of building this facility was $ 1.9 million and will run an additional $ 800,000 annually. If you could have prevented the settlement of the zebra mussels, these investments would not have been necessary. It seems all the more important to prevent further spread from preventing such investments in other regions!
The following Texan lakes are infested with zebra mussels:
- Dean Gilbert (a 45-acre Community Fishing Lake in Sherman),
- Eagle Mountain,
- Lady Bird,
- Lyndon B. Johnson,
- Marble Falls,
- O.H. Ivie,
- Randell (local Denison access only),
- Ray Roberts,
- Richland Chambers,
- Stillhouse Hollow,
The following Texan lakes and rivers are classified as positive for zebra mussels:
- Lakes Dunlap,
- Fishing Hole,
- Richland Chambers,
- Walter E. Long,
- the river reaches downstream on the Colorado, Guadalupe, Lampasas, Leon, Little, Red, and Trinity rivers
A survey by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) confirmed that boaters visiting infested lakes are traveling to uninfected lakes across the state and are at high risk for unknowingly transporting these destructive species.
Another problem is the high filtering effect of the mussels, the visible effect of which is that the water is clearer than normal. This allows sunlight to penetrate deeper into the lake. That, in turn, can encourage plant growth, including invasive hydrilla and algal blooms, which sometimes prevent our drinking water from tasting as usual. In the worst case, this can turn the water into a blue-green color.
Since the shells of the mussels are very sharp-edged and after their death they often accumulate on the banks of our lakes, it can be dangerous to walk barefoot along the beach. There is a risk of injuring yourself as a result.
Many environmentalists are fighting the zebra mussels because they can completely change the ecosystem. Due to the weather here in central Texas, they can reproduce most of the year and greatly affect the diversity of water bodies. Due to the tiny size of the larvae, they can be found on almost all objects that come into contact with water -> even on swimming trunks!