Zebra Mussels Find Their Way to Lake Ray Roberts, Part of Dallas' Water Supply

Categories: The Environment

ZebraMussel.jpg
Wikipedia
Zebra mussels, the innocuously named but virulent mollusk, were first discovered domestically in the Great Lakes back in the late 1980's, having spread westward from their native Eastern Europe and hitched a ride in the ballast of U.S.-bound ships. Since then, they have spread through the nation's waterways.

They were first reported in Texas in 2009, when state officials announced they had been found in Lake Texoma. which prompted the North Texas Municipal Water District to stop pumping water from there and begin construction of a 46-mile pipeline to a treatment plant on Lake Lavon. State wildlife officials encouraged boaters to be sure to clean all water and attached debris from boats, since it only takes a small amount of larvae-filled water to contaminate a lake.

Jim, with his ancestral roots in Great Lakes country, has heard tell of what zebra mussels have done in his native waters and opined here in January that Texas wasn't taking the problem seriously enough. They are life killers, he said. They scrub the lake of other lifeforms and encourage the growth of toxic algae and pose a direct threat to our water supply. Quarantine Lake Texoma. Don't let a drop get near Lake Lavon.

Lake Lavon appears safe for the moment, but the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department announced yesterday that zebra mussels had been confirmed in Lake Ray Roberts north of Denton. It's the first time the invasive species has been discovered in the Trinity River basin. What's more, it's one of the lakes from which Dallas gets its water.

"Unfortunately, from an environmental and economic standpoint, this is very bad news," TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith said in a statement released by the agency. "For a host of reasons the implications of this discovery are substantial to Texas waters and their future use and management. We intend to continue working with our partners to do everything reasonably possible to try and prevent the further spread of this harmful invasive species."

City of Dallas spokesman Frank Librio emphasized that zebra mussels pose no threat to the city's ability to take drinking water from Ray Roberts, just that it might clog water intakes, which then require extra cleaning. That doesn't sound too apocalyptic. If only things stay that simple.



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9 comments
Tim Covington
Tim Covington

I never implied such a thing. The only way it might have been possible to stop the spread would to make it where people could never remove boats from Lake Texoma. And, even then, it might not have worked. All it would have taken is flood waters from the Texoma water shed getting into to tributaries of any of the other area lakes to spread the mussels.

jharris214
jharris214

I believe I saw a caravan of hipsters on pennyfarthers headed toward Lake Ray Roberts at lunch time.  They had whole grain baugettes under their arms.

Bill Marvel
Bill Marvel

Yes, and there's all that private entrepreneurial money just waiting for a chance to do the job.  I imagine the first thing a private contractor will do is ship the mussels to India where a sweatshop full of laborers will smash them between rocks one by one.

Edwinspencerjr
Edwinspencerjr

Of course. Public money spent trying to contain the spread of the things is wasted money.

jharris214
jharris214

Either way, it's a load of carp.

Joey
Joey

 It doesn't matter, we're still stuck in the middle...

cynical old bastard
cynical old bastard

Just have Matt McAllister and Brian Luscher make some sous vide, foamed, stacked zebra mussel dish and all the foodies will go pull them out of the lakes.

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

The trick is to get the killer bees pissed off at the zebra mussels.

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