Zebra Mussel Infestation Update

| July 30, 2012 | 0 Comments

I am beginning a broad search on zebra mussel infestation in order to bring more information to those who care to be concerned about the discovery of the invasive zebra mussel DNA in Lake Ray Roberts, and actual zebras below the dam on the way to Lake Lewisville.

I stand amazed by the fact that boats are coming and going out of Lake Ray Roberts, much like they have been from Texoma (for years) – UNCHECKED, UNWASHED, AND TRANSPORTING zebra mussel DNA to the next place they launch.

Never let it be said that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, or water districts are being pro active when it comes to the spread of zebra mussels. Get ready Austin, zebra mussels are coming to you soon, as well as Lake Fork, and every lake that can host them in Texas. I wonder what the subplot is? Why would this be allowed to happen, and why aren’t concerned parties taking action to protect the other Texas lakes? I wonder which lake it infects will be THE LAKE that achieves the tipping point of concern about this invasive species, and it finally gets the full attention of the geniuses in Austin.

My only answer to the question that only I seem to be asking, is; it is a foregone conclusion that all Texas lakes will have zebra mussel DNA, and/or the actual zebra mussel – NO MATTER WHAT. Nothing can be done.

Here is an excerpt from a “Fact Sheet” from the State of New Hampshire:
The zebra mussel’s ability to rapidly propagate and physically attach to objects creates several problems:
· Zebra mussels filter small particles such as phytoplankton (microscopic plants), small zooplankton (microscopic animals), and detritus (pieces of organic debris) from water. Mussels are capable of filtering up to 1 liter of water within a 24 hour period. Large populations of zebra mussels can severely alter the lake or riverine food web by competing with existing species such as salmon and walleye.
· Raw water intakes such as those at drinking water, electric generation, and industrial facilities can become infested with zebra mussels. A water supply system serving 50,000 people in a Michigan city had to shut down due to pump failure by zebra mussels in its intake system.
· Beaches in infested areas may be impacted by the washing up of sharp shells in shallow areas, which can cut bathers and litter beaches. Decomposition of mussels can also create obnoxious odors.
· Impacts on boating and navigation include: · Organisms attached to hulls increase drag, reduce speed, thus increasing fuel consumption.
· Growth of larval mussels drawn into a boat engine cooling water intakes may occlude the cooling system, leading to overheating and possible damage to the engine.
· If shells are drawn into the engine, abrasion of cooling system parts, especially impellers, could result.
· Marker buoys can sink under the weight of mussel encrustation.
· Docks can be destabilized or sunk by mussel colonization.

It must be a given that we can expect to find zebra mussels in Lake Fork, zebra mussels in Lake Whitney, zebra mussels in Possum Kingdom, zebra mussels in the Brazos River below PK, zebra mussels in Lake Amistad, zebra mussels in Falcon Lake, zebra mussels in O.H Ivie, zebra mussels in Richland Chambers Lake. Get ready if you use any lake in Texas for recreation, fishing or any other activities. I am guessing that zebra mussels in L.B.J. or zebra mussels in Austin Town Lake, or zebra mussels in Ladybird will get the attention of environmentally minded activists where they live – I guess the only place they live, in Austin.

DO I SOUND ALARMIST?

Well, maybe I am. Let’s just say nobody cares, and nothing is done. What happens when pipes supplying water from all these lakes are clogged solid, and you can no longer add water to your chemical lawn greening treatment? Then who cares? Let’s say the powers-that-be finally react to zebra mussels clogging pumps and pipes … it’s not like they can keep the water coming while they clean (by primitive scraping) and retool their treatment plants. THE PLANTS GO OFFLINE.

If this is more complex than I make it out to be, please feel free to raise my IQ.

SOLUTIONS

Assuming there are none, we are left with shooting arrows into the air and seeing where they fall. The only idea that crossed my mind is to require boat washes at all public boat ramps. Here’s how it would work:

1) Install mandatory drive over washers that wash bottom of boat and trailer. Haven’t seen one? Visit your local city dump, or accompany me to the City of Denton Dump and I will show you one in action – about 60 hours a week.
2) Pay for the washes at the ramps by forcing boat trailer traffic through the wash, and charging $2-dollars per wash.
3) Wash water temperature must be 140-degrees fahrenheit.
4) Offer funding for private startup of boat washes outside ramps and parks. This is a perfect application of a new Obama stimulus, shovel ready, back to work plan.

I already have two locations scouted for installation of a stimulus funded zebra mussel boat wash – around Lake Ray Roberts, and am waiting for the check to arrive, but not exactly checking the mailbox every day.

Please let Texas Fly Caster know if anyone working for the State of Texas is doing anything about zebra mussels, other than the dreaded watch and wait approach.

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Category: Science and Environmental, Zebra Mussels

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

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