Lake Walter E Long “Fully Infested” with Zebra Mussels

AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has designated Lake Walter E. Long in Travis County as “infested” with zebra mussels, signifying an established, reproducing population in the lake.

Walter E. Long had already received a “positive” designation following the repeated detection of zebra mussel larvae in October 2018 and May 2019. However, subsequent searches for settled mussels conducted as recently as 2021 did not detect any juveniles or adults. 

In early August of this year, City of Austin Watershed Protection biologists conducted shoreline searches for zebra mussels and found two adults in the lake, indicating the presence of an established population.

Additionally, private-access Diversion Lake in Medina County is also now fully infested with zebra mussels. Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District staff found numerous settled zebra mussels in the lake in July, indicating the presence of an established population. Since Diversion Lake is immediately downstream of fully infested Medina Lake, downstream dispersal likely led to the infestation.

“Unfortunately, zebra mussels have now spread to 34 Texas lakes, with 30 now fully infested, but there are far more lakes in Texas that still haven’t been invaded and are at risk,” said Brian Van Zee, TPWD Inland Fisheries Regional Director. “Each boater taking steps to clean and drain their boat before leaving the lake and allowing compartments and gear to dry completely when they get home can make a big difference in protecting our Texas lakes.”

Because zebra mussels are most often transported on or in boats, boaters play a critical role in preventing them from spreading to new lakes. Zebra mussels attach to boats, and anything left in the water, including anchors, and can survive for days out of water, often hiding in crevices where they may escape notice. Their larvae are microscopic and invisible to the naked eye, meaning they can be unknowingly transported by boats in residual water.

TPWD urges boaters to clean, drain and dry their boats and gear before traveling from lake to lake. Remove plants, mud and debris, drain all the water from the boat and gear, and then open compartments once you get home and allow everything to dry completely for at least a week if possible.

If you have stored your boat in the water at a lake with invasive mussels, it is likely infested and poses an extremely high risk for moving these invasive species to a new lake. Before moving your boat, call TPWD at (512) 389-4848 for guidance on decontamination.

On top of the harm invasive species can cause to aquatic ecosystems, water infrastructure and the recreational experience at lakes, the transport of these organisms can result in legal trouble for boaters. Transporting prohibited aquatic invasive species in Texas is illegal and punishable with a fine of up to $500 per violation. It’s also the law that boaters must drain all water from their boat and onboard receptacles, including bait buckets, before leaving or approaching a body of fresh water. They must also remove all invasive plants from the boat, trailer, and tow vehicle before leaving a lake.

For more information on how to properly clean, drain and dry boats and equipment, visit the TPWD YouTube channel for a short instructional video. To learn more about giant salvinia, zebra mussels and other invasive species in Texas, visit tpwd.texas.gov/StopInvasives.

TPWD and partners monitor for invasive species in Texas lakes, but anyone who finds them in lakes where they haven’t been reported before or who spots them on boats, trailers or equipment that is being moved can help identify and prevent new introductions by reporting the sighting to TPWD at (512) 389-4848 or by emailing photos and location information to aquaticinvasives@tpwd.texas.gov.

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Joseph Menslage

As the President and Publisher of Katy and Fort Bend Christian Magazines, Joe Menslage is committed to covering social and political news from a Christian worldview. He founded Katy Christian Magazine in 2005, which swept the greater Houston and Katy areas like a storm. That’s when Joe realized the urgent need for publications willing to give voices to the voiceless, without political correctness or censorship. Joe Menslage founded sister-publication Fort Bend Christian Magazine in 2014. Prior to creating Katy Christian Magazine, Joe Menslage led a colorful life. He was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, spent a great deal of his childhood in Colorado, and lived in a couple of other states before he moved to Houston in 1981. Joe was God-gifted with an entrepreneurial mind, and self-started other business ventures before he found his calling. In Joe’s words, our innate talents are given by the Lord, and are meant to be used to serve the Lord. Aside from being a President and Publisher, Joe Menslage is also the co-founder of Katy Christian Chamber of Commerce, where Christians can network, build business connections, listen to passionate speakers, and enjoy monthly breakfasts and lunches. Joe Menslage also hosts a weekly political satire YouTube channel. Joe Menslage has four children. Outside of work, he enjoys hiking, watching zombie movies and K dramas, ax-throwing and Krav Maga.