AUSTIN — Invasive zebra mussels have been positively identified in Richland Chambers Reservoir, one of the state’s largest inland reservoirs.
TPWD fisheries biologists confirmed the presence of six adult zebra mussels in the reservoir Oct. 18 after receiving an identification report from a couple of young anglers fishing near the dam. The young anglers identified the zebra mussels based on a warning poster they had seen advising boaters to clean, drain and dry.
“At this time it appears to be a pretty low density of zebra mussels and all of the specimens were of similar size, so at this time we cannot say there is a reproducing population in Richland Chambers Reservoir,” said Brian Van Zee, Inland Fisheries Regional Director. “That is why the lake is classified as positive rather than infested, but we do plan to continue to monitor for reproduction.”
Richland Chambers Reservoir is a 44,000-acre impoundment controlled by the Tarrant Regional Water District, located less than 100 miles from Dallas, Waco and Tyler. It is the newest of several water bodies already found positive for zebra mussels in the Trinity River Basin, to include Lake Livingston, Lake Worth, Lavon Lake and Fishing Hole Lake.
The Trinity River Basin also includes several zebra mussel-infested water bodies – meaning they have established, reproducing populations – including Lake Bridgeport, Eagle Mountain Lake, Ray Roberts Lake and Lake Lewisville – and the rivers below these lakes (or portions thereof) are considered positive.
The rapidly reproducing zebra mussels, originally from Eurasia, can have serious economic, recreational and environmental impacts on Texas reservoirs and rivers. Zebra mussels can cover shoreline rocks and litter beaches with sharp shells, clog water intakes, damage or increase maintenance on hydroelectric and other facilities using raw surface water, and damage boats and motors left in infested waters.
Although biologists do not yet know the full extent of the zebra mussel population in Richland Chambers Reservoir, District Fisheries Biologist Richard Ott said boaters need to be diligent in cleaning, draining and drying their equipment every time they leave the water.