Earlier this summer, biologists found zebra mussels in Lake Travis. Texas Parks and Wildlife officials found more in Lake Austin, this time.
“It's very likely a boat from Travis or a boat from another lake brought them to that marina near Tom Miller Dam,” said Greg Cummings, district fisheries biologist with TPWD.
This news is quite a surprise for scientists
“We thought they were going to be reserved to cold water. So, we thought northern states would have more of a problem,” said Cummings.
Biologists say the mussels can migrate in the water, but they are most likely hitching rides on your boat.
“We want people to clean, drain and dry their boats,” said Cummings.
Why should you care about these little creatures? Well for one, they are sharp and are not fun to step on at the beach. They can also cause problems in the underwater ecosystem
“The maintenance required to control and clean these mussels out of the pipes and systems can increase the cost for these agencies and utilities,” said Cummings.
Just down the way is Lady Bird Lake, another concern for the spread.
If mussel population gets out of hand, popular swimming spots could also be affected.
“People can be a vector. If they swim downstream from the dam, they could bring it directly to Barton Springs,” said Liz Johnston, environmental program coordinator for Austin Watershed Protection Department.
It's important to note, Lake Travis has a full on infestation, Lake Austin has just tested positive, but biologists will monitor further to see if there is an established population in lake Austin. In the meantime, clean, drain, and dry your boats, and dry off well after a dip to prevent these mussels from spreading.