Texas is begging boaters to “clean, drain and dry” their crafts to help fight the spread of zebra mussels after the destructively invasive mollusks showed up in Lewisville Lake.The United States Geological Survey on Thursday confirmed the infestation in the third Texas lake — the second in the Trinity River Basin — to fall victim to the thumbnail-sized marauders, less than a year after they were found in Lake Ray Roberts.Dangerous for their ability to clog public-water intake pipes and harm boats and motors with their razor-sharp-edged shells, zebra mussels have significant economic and recreational impacts, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department news release said.The mussels also deprive fish — including bass and catfish — of their food, officials said.Owners are urged to clean all mud, algae and other debris from boats and trailers after operating them, as well as draining and drying everything, before launching into other bodies of water. The TPWD requires anglers and boaters to drain all water from their boats — including live wells — before leaving lakes Texoma, Lavon, Ray Roberts and Lewisville.The first zebra mussels in the U.S. hit the Great Lakes in the 1980s and were believed to come from ships that originated in the Black Sea. They’ve since invaded 23 states, including the Mississippi River basin and 10 lakes in Oklahoma.They arrived in Lake Texoma in 2009 and before long their signature striped shells virtually filled every bay. Low levels of zebra DNA larvae have been found in Eagle Mountain and Lake Bridgeport, but those lakes have yet to show evidence of the mussels themselves.More than a few zebra mussels have to get together before a colony can start, said University of Texas at Arlington professor emeritus of biology Robert McMahon.For brochures, wallet cards or posters about zebra mussels, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terry Evans, 817-390-7620 Twitter: @fwstevans