Zebra mussels have been confirmed in Ray Roberts Lake, state parks officials announced late Wednesday.
The discovery comes three years after the destructive, invasive species was found in Lake Texoma. Originally from Eastern Europe, zebra mussels were first found in Lake St. Clair, Mich., in 1988. They have been found in more than 600 lakes or reservoirs in 29 states. Ray Roberts is the second Texas lake found to have zebra mussel colonies, and the first in the Trinity River basin.
Park officials made the discovery after DNA analysis of water samples from 14 North Texas reservoirs, 12 of which came back negative. Carter Smith, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director Carter Smith, called the finding “very bad news.”
Department spokesman Mike Cox said that some mussels were found below the dam at Ray Roberts Lake but none elsewhere.
“They checked Lewisville Lake this afternoon and didn’t find anything,” Cox said in an interview Wednesday.
Zebra mussels can clog public-water intake pipes and other underwater equipment by completely covering anything left under water. The mussels’ razor-sharp edges make recreation hazardous.
The mussels compete with baitfish for available forage, which affects game fish such as bass, striped bass and catfish. Zebra mussels will also colonize on the shells of native mussels and suffocate them.
The North Texas Municipal Water District stopped pumping water from Lake Texoma in 2009 because of a zebra mussel infestation and is building a 46-mile pipeline extension that carries water directly from Texoma to a treatment plant at Lake Lavon.
Prior to Lake Ray Roberts, Lake Texoma and Sister Grove Creek had been the only bodies of water in Texas where zebra mussel colonies had been found. A lone adult zebra mussel was found in Lake Ray Hubbard in May 2011.
Staff writer Dawn Cobb contributed to this report.
PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881. Her email address is email@example.com.