The Travis County Parks Department urged caution recently for those visiting Lake Travis, due to an increase in injuries from invasive Zebra Mussels that are proliferating across the waterways. Zebra Mussels are very small but have sharp edges and can cut the skin of humans and animals. They are found on rocks along the shoreline, on the underwater portion of docks, on buoys, alongside boats, virtually anywhere solid that they can attach.
TCPD suggested visitors to the lake wear water shoes or even firmer soled-shoes and to be cautious with their hands and feet when entering or exiting the water. A press release said dozens of injuries have been reported so far.
“The public is urged to wear water shoes, tennis shoes, or any sturdy closed-toe footwear; socks offer limited-to-no protection. People are being advised to be careful where you place your hands and feet upon entering or exiting the water and when near underwater rocks or structures.”
In particular TCPD suggested caution at these Lake Travis parks:
- Arkansas Bend
- Bob Wentz
- Cypress Creek
- Hippie Hollow
- Mansfield Dam
- Pace Bend
- Sandy Creek
- Tom Hughes
Texas Parks & Wildlife and other authorities have been issuing announcements about Zebra Mussels for several years, initially focusing on stopping or curbing the spread via proper boat care. These invasive mussels first were found in Lake Travis in June 2017, and Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake also are experiencing various levels of infestation.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to stop the species from spreading once it is in the water. They arrived in North America in the 1980s and have been spreading ever since.