AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Water announced via tweet Wednesday it lowered Lady Bird Lake one foot in order to clean zebra mussels off the gates of Longhorn Dam.

Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) listed Lady Bird Lake as one of 30 lakes infested with zebra mussels.

The infestation signifies the mussels have an established population and are reproducing in the lake, the department explained in a press release Wednesday.

TPWD said it detected zebra mussel larvae in the lake in October 2018 and May 2019, but in later searches, including in 2021, the department did not find any juveniles or adults.

“The larvae are actually free-floating in the water, so they can be anywhere in the lake,” said Monica McGarrity, TPWD senior scientist of aquatic invasive species.

  • Austin Water lowered Lady Bird Lake one foot to clean zebra mussels off Longhorn Dam. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)
  • Austin Water lowered Lady Bird Lake one foot to clean zebra mussels off Longhorn Dam. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)
  • Austin Water lowered Lady Bird Lake one foot to clean zebra mussels off Longhorn Dam. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

Zebra mussels clog up intake pipes, as well as other equipment. Larvae are spread from lake to lake by hitching rides on improperly cleaned and drained boats.

The first infestation in the state popped up as early as 2009.