Livingston pushes proactive campaign to prevent spread of invasive species

Livingston pushes proactive campaign to prevent spread of invasive species
Source: Texas Parks & Wildlife
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife
Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife

LIVINGSTON, TX (KTRE) - A body of water less than a hundred miles from Tyler tested positive for zebra mussels this week.

This week, Richland Chambers Reservoir joined the list of lakes, like Lake Livingston and Waco, that have tested positive for adult zebra mussels.

This news has officials, like Todd Driscoll, district fisheries biologist, concerned about the impact of this invasive species.

"Even more problematic is the way that zebra mussels reproduce," Driscoll said. "Their larvae are microscopic. They're called veligers."

Driscoll said zebra mussels can damage boats, environments, and infrastructure.

"So, someone could be very very responsible, but yet still unknowingly transfer zebra mussels via the villagers," Driscoll said.

Park rangers, like Joel Jansen, at the positively-tested Lake Livingston said that cleaning your boat of adult mussels, draining the water from inside, and drying the water on the outside, is a sure way to fight the species.

"We've painted our boat ramps with clean, drain, and dry," Jansen said. "We've ordered signs that are going to be put in at every boat ramp to educate the public about this, so we can keep this invasive species from damaging beautiful lakes like this one here."

Biologists contracted by the state come out and tie a cinder block to any dock on the lake and periodically check for the mussels.

"I do know that they've been here twice, and both times the trap at our state park at our pier did not have zebra mussels on it," said Jansen.

Other bodies of waters that are infested won't be so lucky.

"With our current technology, it is impossible to get rid of them," Jansen said. "So, as opposed to going back and trying to clean up a lake, we're trying to prevent lakes from being infested in the first place."

But, Driscoll said he is hopeful for the rest of East Texas.

"The zebra mussels require a certain water quality for them to actually reproduce," Driscoll said. "About east to the trinity river basin it's suspected that we're going to be relatively safe for zebra mussel reproduction."

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