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Elizabeth Pagano is the editor of the Austin Monitor.
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What’s brown and white and all over Lake Travis?
Wednesday, June 28, 2017 by Elizabeth Pagano
Zebra mussels have been identified in Lake Travis for the first time, according to a Tuesday announcement from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The presence was confirmed on June 22, when a zebra mussel was spotted, leading to the discovery of “mussels attached to other nearby boats and on submerged marina infrastructure. Additionally, they found several size classes of adult and juvenile mussels at two different sites in the lake, indicating the lake is infested with an established, reproducing population,” according to a department press release. That’s bad news for the area, as the presence of the highly invasive species can have real consequences. As explained by Texas Parks and Wildlife, “The rapidly reproducing zebra mussels, originally from Eurasia, can have serious economic, environmental and recreational impacts on Texas reservoirs and rivers. Zebra mussels can cover shoreline rocks and litter beaches with treacherously sharp shells, clog public-water intakes, and damage boats and motors left in infested waters.” Zebra mussels were first found in Texas in 2009 and 11 lakes in five river basins are currently considered “infested.” The state has more information about stopping the spread of zebra mussels here.