|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2010-09-29                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Sept. 29, 2010
Texas Parks & Wildlife wages war on invading zebra mussels
AUSTIN - Texas Parks & Wildlife Inland Fisheries Division personnel have been waging environmentally safe chemical warfare in North Texas against a formidable invader - zebra mussels.
First discovered in Lake Texoma in April 2009, the fingernail-sized bivalves propagate rapidly and play havoc with their surrounding environment, clogging pipes, covering boat bottoms and ultimately threatening other aquatic life including game fish.
An unprecedented week-long effort on the part of 32 TPWD Inland Fisheries Division personnel to draw the line on the spread of zebra mussels in Texas ended at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 24, with a final dosage of potassium chloride in Sister Grove Creek. The stream flows through Grayson and Collin counties and empties in Lake Lavon, which so far is clear of the invasives.
Coordinated by Waco-based regional Fisheries director Brian Van Zee, the operation focused on killing what is believed a relatively small population of zebra mussels along the 30-mile creek, which carries water piped from Lake Texoma by the North Texas Municipal Water District into Lake Lavon.
"If we don't stop them before they get to Lake Lavon, the whole Trinity River basin is at risk," Van Zee said.
Some 423 bags of potassium chloride -- 21,150 pounds -- went into the creek one plastic coffee can full at a time on an around-the-clock basis to maintain a dosage level that while hopefully fatal to zebra mussels would not be injurious to other species. TPWD staffers worked 12-hour shifts, dosing the creek from eight pre-selected points every 15 minutes.
TPWD staff, working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (which provided some funding), had been planning the operation for months. TPWD worked with the Texas Department of Agriculture to obtain the necessary permits from the US Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality before being able to chemically treat the creek, which flows into Lake Lavon.
"We're waiting on more data, but we have already found some [zebra mussel] mortality at a couple of points along the creek," Van Zee says. "Right now I'm cautiously optimistic."
Potassium chloride had been successfully used by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to kill zebra mussels found in a water-filled quarry in that state, but as far as is known the chemical has never been used to treat for zebra mussels in a flowing body of water.
"We know this common chemical, which is often used in water softeners, will kill zebra mussels," Van Zee said. "Unfortunately, it wouldn't work in Lake Texoma because its too large of a water body and the zebra mussel population is too strong".
Texas boaters who operate their craft on Lake Texoma can do their part from keeping this harmful species from spreading by 1) cleaning any mussels, vegetation or foreign objects from the bottom of their boats; 2) draining all water from the boat, motor, livewells and bait buckets; and 3) drying the boat and trailer for at least a week before launching in another water body.
"Boaters who use Lake Texoma should wash their boats and trailers at a commercial car wash using hot, soapy water or allow their boat and trailer to dry for at least a week to prevent zebra mussels from spreading beyond Lake Texoma," Van Zee said.
For more information on zebra mussels and other invasive species see the texasinvasives.org website.
On the Net:

[ Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Rob McCorkle, TPWD, (830) 866-3533 or robert.mccorkle@tpwd.texas.gov; Shelly Plante, TPWD, (512) 389-4500 or shelly.plante@tpwd.texas.gov ]
Sept. 29, 2010
Guadalupe Valley Paddling Trail Opens Oct. 1
CUERO - A dedication ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. this Friday on the banks of the Guadalupe River to commemorate the opening of the newest Texas Paddling Trail on the Guadalupe River in DeWitt County. The Guadalupe Valley Paddling Trail marks the 21st entry into the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's paddling trail program.
State and local officials will gather at the FM 766 bridge (Hell's Gate) for the opening ceremony and unveiling of one of several informational kiosks, which will provide details about the paddling trail's unique features. Kiosks have been placed at each put-in location along the 13.8-mile paddling trail that stretches from FM 766 to FM 236 on the river, as well as a launch site on State Highway 72.
TPWD partnered with the Cuero Development Corporation, Cuero Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and DeWitt County to develop the paddling trail. It includes remnants of a dam two-and-a-half miles downriver and towering cypress trees.
Estimated float times for the new paddling trail are from three to six hours, depending on the flow rate. This stretch of the river is typically slow-flowing with a few faster-running riffles, and supports plenty of wildlife. Paddlers are likely to see egrets, herons, kingfishers, white-tailed deer, feral hogs, as well as cattle quenching their thirsts.
Anglers on this stretch of the river will enjoy casting for several varieties of catfish, as well as largemouth and spotted bass, sunfish and the occasional smallmouth and Guadalupe bass.
The Texas Paddling Trails program, which began in 1998, helps promote habitat conservation through sustainable economic development, while providing additional recreational opportunities to the public. More Americans paddle (canoe, kayak or raft) than play soccer, making it one of the fastest-growing nature tourism experiences.