Officials Stop Zebra Mussels from Entering Table Rock Lake

    An invasive species that has been in Bull Shoals Lake for 15 years nearly made it's way into Table Rock Lake.

    Details below from a report posted by KTLO:

    A Bull Shoals boater recently found out the hard way launching your boat in a different body of water may not be as easy as it seems. The person was ticketed when Zebra Mussels were discovered attached to the houseboat they were trying to launch into Table Rock Lake.

    The first confirmed discovery of Zebra Mussels in north-central Arkansas occurred in 2007 in Bull Shoals Lake near Lead Hill. Although Zebra Mussels are now prevalent in Bull Shoals Lake, there has been no official documentation of them in Beaver, Greers Ferry, Norfork, or Table Rock Lakes. However, there have been some close calls over the years, the most recent of which occurred just last month.

    On May 24, a marina operator at the Cricket Creek Marina stopped a houseboat from launching into Table Rock Lake after observing Zebra Mussels attached to the boat. The marina operator quickly notified an Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) Enforcement Officer to intervene. The officer informed the boat hauler that the vessel transported from Bull Shoals Lake could not be launched into Table Rock Lake and subsequently issued them a citation for the illegal transport of Zebra Mussels. In addition, the boat owner was instructed to clean and decontaminate the boat thoroughly and allow it to air dry for ten days. The boat then had to pass a visual inspection before launching into Table Rock Lake. Finally, on June 3, fisheries biologists with the Missouri Department of Conservation and AGFC completed a comprehensive inspection before approving the boat’s launch into Table Rock Lake.

    AGFC has some easy to remember recommendations everyone should follow to reduce the risk of transporting Zebra Mussels from infested waters: Just clean, drain, and dry your boat, motor, and trailer. First, remove all drain plugs from your vessel at the boat ramp, and allow all water to drain from the vessel. This requirement became law in 2020. Second, inspect your boat, live well, trailer, and motor and remove all debris, mud, and vegetation. Also, boat owners should wash their boats and trailers with high-pressure, hot water if possible. Finally, clean all live wells, bilge pumps, ballast tanks, and other areas that hold or pump water in addition to exterior surfaces. Once completed, allow the boat and trailer to dry. These few steps will help ensure other water bodies don’t become infested with Zebra Mussels.

    If you discover Zebra Mussels on your boat or equipment, please contact the AGFC ANS Program Coordinator (501) 747-9012 before transporting the boat or infested equipment. Transport of Zebra Mussels in Arkansas is illegal and transporting them across state lines is a Federal offense.

    For more information on Zebra Mussels and all other aquatic nuisance species found in Arkansas, check out the AGFC Aquatic Nuisance Species webpage, there you can find out which ANS have been observed in the state, find images and profile information on each species, and use the online ANS Reporting Tool to report any ANS you find, catch, or observe.

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