Dangers of spreading zebra mussels into Lake Waco

Local

Memorial Weekend is here, and lots of people will be heading to the lake. But there are some precautions to be aware of if you are taking your boat.

You could be carrying a species which can be dangerous for the lake and the water you drink at home.

Zebra mussels are an invasive species which travel kind of like hitchhikers.

“It’s people that go from one lake to another that is more concerning,” says Lake Waco Park Ranger Courtney Heuring.

Lake Waco had a problem with zebra mussels years ago, but they have been contained at this time.

“We are monitoring them so we can detect it if they do come back to be numerous,” Heuring says.

Transporting zebra mussels from one lake to another is considered a Class C misdemeanor.

“Lake Waco is a drinking source, you know, for the City of Waco,” Heuring says. “So if we get zebra mussels problems, we are going to have a lot of issues with our pipes and infrastructure that gets the water from the lake to the homes,” Heuring describes.

During the summer, the City of Waco and Texas Parks and Wildlife will be monitoring and doing inspections at boat ramps for zebra mussels.

“The problem is that they attach to any hard surfaces. You may not even notice them. Some of them are really small, one or two mussels attaches to that boat, and it’s not cleanex properly. They come into Lake Waco, and those mussels could be reintroduced,” Heuring says.

If left untreated, zebra mussels can be very damaging.

“It’s not dangerous to people. They cause a lot of economic and environmental problems. Zebra mussels can clog up an entire pipe and they attach to each other on top of each other, and then clog up a whole infrastructure/pipes,” Heuring explains.

The park rangers say everyone is required to clean, drain and dry their boats after entering a lake.

For more information about zebra mussels, you can click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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