Meeting held to combat invasive species in Lake Texoma

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DENISON, TX -- Businesses on Lake Texoma took a big hit this summer after experts found high levels of "blue-green" algae. Now, some lake-goers and business owners are worried it could happen again. Monday night wildlife experts held an open meeting to explain how they are trying to prevent that from happening.

Officials with the Texas Parks and Wildlife say people who want to boat and fish on Lake Texoma will probably be able to do so, but there could be some new regulations not only to prevent invasive species from getting into the lake, but also to keep them from getting out of it and into other waterways.

Wildlife Specialist Cliff Moore says he attended the meeting tonight because he knows something has to be done and done fast to save Texas' waters.

"For those of us that are environmentally sensitive, and understand how the environment works and the cause and effects when an invasive species shows up, beyond worrisome," Moore said.

Over the past few years, Moore says the number of Zebra Mussels in Lake Texoma has increased by the millions and they have caused alarming declines in other species of fish and birds.

Moore says Lake Texoma is infested with millions of the problematic mussels and we may have to sacrifice our lake to save others.

"This is my backyard. This is my lake. My lake is gone. I don't want to lose the rest of Texas," Moore said.

David Terre with Texas Parks and Wildlife agrees action needs to be taken to combat not only Zebra Mussels, but Asian Carp. Terre says he is aware Zebra Mussels are a big issue here in Texoma and if something is not done to stop their spread it could end up affecting waterways across the state of Texas.

"Zebra mussels they can attach to boats, they can attach to structures that move water from one region of the state to another, and all those costs money to clean and can certainly lead to increase costs of water," Terre said.

To prevent any further spread of invasive species like Zebra mussels, green algae and Asian Carp officials are considering prohibiting fishermen from taking live non-game fish from the lake and requiring boaters to drain all water from their boats and buckets.

Moore says though he is glad action is being taken now something should have been done much sooner, years ago.

"The magic bullet does not exist. We have to quarantine Lake Texoma now to protect the rest of Texas, our water, our economy, our future. It's no longer time to talk about it," Moore said.

Texas Parks and Wildlife officials have scheduled another meeting for Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. in East Texas. It will take place in Jefferson at the Jefferson Visitors Center. The public is welcome to attend and ask questions.

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