AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – As summer boating and fishing continue in full swing around the High Plains, officials with the Lake Meredith National Recreation Area said that education and close monitoring efforts have continued to prevent local water sources from experiencing the impact of invasive species seen elsewhere in Texas.
In recent months, invasive species such as the hammerhead flatworm and zebra mussels have made headlines after being seen in new parts of Texas. Further, extreme amounts of rainfall and subsequent flooding have raised both the Canadian River and Lake Meredith water levels and interconnected many regional streams and playa lakes.
However, despite the influx of water and the spread elsewhere in the Lone Star State, officials and published reports have noted that Lake Meredith has continued to see instances of invasive plant species more often than anything else. Noted by the National Park Service and the Invasive Plant Atlas, the area has experienced invasive plants including French tamarisk, Russian thistle, Russian olive, and johnsongrass.
Specifically regarding zebra mussels and quagga mussels, officials with the Lake Meredith National Recreation Area and the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority said that they have not detected either in the environment. Further, officials already use mussel detection dogs to search boats for invasive species on select weekends and are pursuing funding to increase those visits.
As noted previously on MyHighPlains.com, K9 inspection teams work with the NPS to evaluate vessels before launch to ensure that neither zebra mussels nor other invasive species are present.
“The inspections we do with the dogs serves as both a deterrent and an educational component. So far we have not detected a boat contaminated with mussels and we have boats that utilize lakes where the mussels are present coming to Lake Meredith,” said Lake Meredith National Recreation Area Superintendent Eric Smith, “Our efforts to educate these boaters on the Clean, Drained and Dry method of invasive species transport prevention seems to be paying off.”
Officials from the recreation area continued to advise that visitors and community members be aware of measures they can take to prevent the spread of invasive species. More information on invasive species in Texas and ongoing surveys can be found here.
Meanwhile, Amarillo-area experts recently reiterated the need for day-to-day water safety for fishing, swimming, boating, and other water activities apart from monitoring for invasive species. The Texas Department of State Health Services also issued a fish consumption advisory for Lake Meredith regarding walleye in 2023 due to the presence of mercury.