Biologists with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation say Lake Murray is now home to significant populations of zebra mussels, a non-native aquatic nuisance species that threatens the state’s waters.
“Zebra mussels are a serious threat because they’re not native, but yet they compete with native species for resources,” said Curtis Tackett, aquatic nuisance species biologist for the Wildlife Department.
“Along with harming populations of native aquatic wildlife, they can also damage water intake structures and clog up waterways.”
Zebra mussels potentially pose a multi-billion-dollar threat to industrial and public water supplies.
Through both downstream movement and transport by hitchhiking a ride on boats, zebra mussels have infested several lakes in Oklahoma, but only recently have they been discovered in south-central Oklahoma’s Lake Murray.
Water samples collected at Lake Murray last spring turned up no evidence of zebra mussels in the Carter Co. lake, which demonstrates how quickly they spread, Tackett said.