Protect Texas From Invasive Zebra Mussels

Target: Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas

Goal: Remove and quarantine newly discovered populations of zebra mussels, an invasive type of mussel known to disrupt the ecosystems into which it is introduced.

The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is a tiny freshwater mollusk and an aggressively invasive species, known for its potentially devastating effects on the ecosystems into which it is introduced. Native to Eurasia, the striped mussels have spread virulently to many rivers and lakes throughout Europe and North America, damaging not only ecosystems through their monopolization of food supplies, but also infrastructure and the economy it supports as they cause damage to ships, harbors, power plants, waste treatment plants, and miscellaneous piping and plumbing.

While the first zebra mussels in Texas were reported to have taken root in 2009, their numbers have since exploded throughout the state, where recently it was reported that they had invaded at least 11 lakes and streams, located in five separate river basins. And, as in many places, zebra mussels lack predators in Texas, making it all the more difficult to eliminate them.

This month, the Houston Chronicle reported that the invasion of zebra mussels has already cost the state of Texas hundred of millions of dollars in damaged infrastructure, and noted that, “The alien mussels, which explode in population in their new homes, can cripple freshwater ecosystems by outcompeting native clams and consuming massive amounts of nutrients necessary to support native fish and other aquatic life.”

Sign below to let the state’s leaders know that something must be done to contain this problem, and soon.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Abbott,

The efforts on behalf of the state of Texas to address its invasive zebra mussel problem are commendable. However, they are unfortunately not enough: In the past month alone, a “full-blown” infestation has been confirmed for Lake Travis, one of the South’s most important reservoirs, and the Houston Chronicle noted that the species has already cost Texans hundreds of millions of dollars in damaged infrastructure.

The destruction caused to aquatic ecosystems, and the economies that depend on them, is also immense: The Chronicle reports that zebra mussels crowd out other lifeforms wherever they are present, consuming so much raw nutrient and plankton that little is left for other creatures to thrive on; they also support the growth of blue-green algae, which lead to toxic freshwater blooms that result in fish kills.

Please tackle this threat to both the environment and economy of Texas before it grows out of control.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Laurie Driver

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2 Comments

  1. Common Texas, please protect your enviriment ecological balance. Texas owes protection of natural resources and balance to the public, thefutrue public and themselves as the Great State of Texas.

  2. Alison Zacharis says:

    An invasive species, just like humans!

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