Officials concerned about Zebra Mussels

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Officials with the City of Wichita Falls are concerned about the risk of Zebra Mussels infesting area lakes.

Oklahoma officials recently confirmed that Zebra Mussels are present in Lake Waurika.

The non-native mussel has the ability to attach to structures in a lake like boats, piping, and other things.

They will then continue to grow and multiply and degrade the structure until it is no longer usable.

Officials say should they infest area lakes, they would have to be controlled, increasing the cost of water supply which would increase the water bills of customers.

Officials say transporting boats and trailers that have been in Zebra Mussel infested bodies of water to area lakes could result in new infestations.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens enforce regulations to help prevent the spread of Zebra Mussels.

Prohibited activities include possession of Zebra Mussels, transporting boats and trailers without draining all water, transporting and releasing fish that were not taken from that specific water body.

"All you have to do to help keep Zebra Mussels from getting into our area lakes, make sure you always clean drain and dry a boat whenever you leave a lake, if you do that and don't move water we are in good shape," said Tom Lang, a Biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife. "If you have a live well with bait make sure you drain that, drain your bait bucket, don't move water, moving water means you could be moving Zebra Mussels."

13 lakes in Texas have tested positive for Zebra Mussels. If you are caught spreading them with or without your knowledge, you could be fined up to $500.

The City of Wichita Falls will also be conducting monitoring operations by looking for Zebra Mussel larvae and by detecting Zebra Mussel DNA using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR).

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