Boaters rejoice! Those pesky Zebra Mussels have been successfully eradicated from Lake Waco.

According to a press release from Texas Parks & Wildlife, the Zebra Mussels that appeared at Lake Waco in 2014 have since been wiped out.

Now let me start this by being honest. About a year and a half ago, I had no idea what a Zebra Mussel was. I personally do not fish or boat, so can you really blame me? No worries though because I have since been educated by a few professionals in the business.

Marine expert and local businessman Rick Smith of Marine Outlet in Temple, along with Constable Fred Churchill and Bill Conway, host a show on our sister station, KTEM News 1400, called On the Dock. The show airs live Fridays from 5-6 PM and offers the latest information on fishing, boating, hunting, and outdoor sports on our local lakes and across the beautiful State of Texas. It’s a show full of useful information, fishing tips, music, and lots of laughs.

After assisting the guys with a few shows, I heard talk of these pesky creatures called Zebra Mussels. The team informed me that Zebra Mussels are an invasive species that can grow up to 1.5 inches long. While the Zebra Mussels may be small, they cause huge problems that can hurt aquatic life, damage boats, ruin shorelines, impact recreation, and even clog water intake.

Of course my first question was, "how do we stop them?" Little did I know, that's the question that everyone has been working on for years. The first step of course is always prevention. The experts informed me that boaters need to clean, drain, and dry their boat to protect the lakes. Plus that's not a suggestion, it's the law.

“Boaters can take three simple steps and help stop the spread of zebra mussels,” said Van Zee. “Clean, drain and dry your boat when leaving any body of water. Zebra mussels can hide in crevices or residual water and so, even if you don’t see them, you could accidentally take them to a new lake."

In order to stop the Zebra Mussels from infesting the lake, agencies had to work quickly. They placed approximately an acre of plastic sheeting over the bottom of the lake and shoreline, and then weighed it down with sandbags.

"This method was used in an attempt to kill the mussels by blocking oxygen, impede their reproduction, and prevent them from becoming established in the lake," states TP&W.

The plastic was removed in 2015, and the lake has been monitored ever since. Experts have not found any zebra mussel larvae, settled adults, or Zebra Mussel DNA  detected in the lake since.

So let's keep our lakes safe and always CLEAN, DRAIN, and DRY those boats! We don't want those pesky creatures coming back any time soon.

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