Invasive zebra mussels infest Lewisville, Flower Mound area lakes

Zebra mussels are a destructive species that can cause environmental and economic damage.

Zebra mussels are a destructive species that can cause environmental and economic damage.

Image description
Why be concered?
Image description
Zebra Mussels
Image description
Where do Zebra Mussels Hide?
Local entities are taking steps to ensure that an expected infestation of zebra mussels at Grapevine Lake does not interfere with water intake or cause environmental damage.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in June announced a juvenile zebra mussel and microscopic larvae were found at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-operated lake. Zebra mussels are an invasive species that pose an ecological and economic threat, damage boats and threaten a city’s water supply by clogging pipes.

The lake is soon expected to be classified as infested—or having an established, reproducing zebra mussel population—according to TPWD District Fisheries Biologist Raphael Brock. Neighboring Lake Lewisville is already classified as an infested lake.

“We are just waiting on a few more sightings of zebra mussels before we classify it as infested,” Brock said. “It’s a high likelihood it will be considered infested in six months or so due to the zebra mussels reproduction.”

Both Lake Lewisville and Grapevine Lake are used for water supply for different municipalities, and Lake Lewisville is the main water source for Lewisville, according to Lewisville Director of Public Services Keith Marvin.

Preventing colonization


Although the city of Lewisville contracts with Dallas Water Utilities for its water supply, it runs its own water intake facility. Marvin said the zebra mussels have posed a threat to the flow of water through the intake facility if the city had not taken any action.

Lewisville Superintendent of Water Production Kelly Rouse said the city was proactive in putting measures that would help prevent colonization on the intake facility’s pipes.

“We purchased equipment that prevents the zebra mussels from adhering to the pipes,” Kelly said. “It went online in June 2017, and we have not had any problems,” he said.

Marvin said even if the zebra mussels made it into the intake facility it would not affect the treated water, but that removing a colony from a pipe is very labor-intensive and costly.

“Bypassing is not a problem because then [zebra mussels] are filtered out in our treatment process,” he said. “Any organisms, dirt, grit or zebra mussels is filtered out of our water. Building up colonies on our infrastructure is the problem we were attempting to deal with.”

Rouse said the city sends divers every year to inspect and verify that are no colonies on the facility’s pipes.

An invasive species


Zebra mussels were first discovered in Texas at Lake Texoma in 2009 and since then have spread to several lakes.

“[Lake Texoma is] where the whole infestation came from,” Brock said. “More than likely it was spread from boaters who do did not clean their boats. However, we do have a lot of lakes that are connected via pipes and a lot of lakes that have downstream flows into another lake, which are all ways that zebra mussels can spread as well.”

Brock said Lake Lewisville’s infestation was the result of Lake Ray Roberts’ downstream flow.

“Lake Lewisville is below Ray Roberts so during the flood years the zebra mussels basically just flowed directly from Ray Roberts to Lewisville,” he said.

Texas state law requires owners to drain water out of a boat before leaving the water, Brock said. He said TPWD has been working to teach the public to also clean a boat with high-pressure water and soap and let it dry for at least a week before moving to another lake that is not infested by the mussels.

“Once it is in the lake [there is] not much you can do,” he said. “The cost to do anything to combat their numbers in the ecosystem is cost-prohibitive. So the best thing you can do is keep them from spreading.”
By Sherelle Black
Sherelle joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2014 as a reporter for the Grapevine/Colleyville/Southlake edition. She was promoted in 2015 to editor of the GCS edition. In August 2017, Sherelle became the editor of the Lewisville/Flower Mound/Highland Village edition. Sherelle covers transportation, economic development, education and features.


MOST RECENT

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar spoke to members of the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce on May 27 about what the state's post-pandemic economic turnaround might look like. (Screenshot of May 27 virtual luncheon)
Texas comptroller predicts slow, steady economic turnaround post-pandemic

Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar said the state entered the era of the coronavirus in a healthy financial situation, which bodes well for the future as reopening continues, but that Texans are not out of the woods yet.

Nursing facilities across Texas will be able to apply for federal funds to purchase devices to connect residents to friends and family. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Gov. Greg Abbott announces $3.6 million project to connect nursing home residents to families

Gov. Greg Abbott announced May 27 that $3.6 million will be provided to nursing facilities to purchase tablets, webcams and headphones to connect residents with family members.

Here are the latest coronavirus updates for Denton County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
30 new coronavirus cases confirmed in Denton County

Denton County Public Health announced May 27 that an additional 30 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed locally, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 1,285.

Voters are encouraged to bring their own equipment in order to prevent catching or spreading coronavirus.(Graphic by Matthew T. Mills /Community Impact Newspaper)
State of Texas releases voter health checklist for polling stations in June and July

Texas Secretary of State Ruth Hughs released a checklist May 26 for voters to follow to help prevent the spread of coronavirus at polls.

Baylor Scott & White Medical Center - Centennial is located in Frisco. (Courtesy Baylor Scott & White)
Baylor Scott & White Health to lay off 1,200 after reporting 'drastic drop' in visits

The layoffs represent 3% of the health system’s workforce.

Starting May 29, water parks will be able to open up to 25% capacity. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Gov. Abbott issues proclamation allowing water parks to open

Starting Friday, May 29, water parks will be allowed to open but must limit guests to 25% of their normal operating capacity.

Here are the latest coronavirus case updates for Lewisville, Flower Mound and Highland Village. (Community Impact Staff)
The latest: coronavirus cases, recoveries by ZIP code in Lewisville, Flower Mound, Highland Village

Denton County Public Health announced May 26 that an additional 22 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed locally, bringing the county’s total number of cases to 1,255.

The city of Keller’s first hotel, a Hampton Inn & Suites, is expected to open May 28. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
New hotel and small-business grants: News from the DFW area

Read Community Impact Newspaper's coverage of the Dallas-Fort Worth area here.

The flute section of the Rouse High School marching band from Leander performs in this 2017 file photo. (Courtesy Leander ISD)
Texas schools may begin hosting sports workouts, band practices June 8

The University Interscholastic League released guidelines for allowing sports workouts and marching bands to practice.

The business opened in the Richardson Heights Shopping Center 16 years ago. (Makenzie Plusnick/Community Impact)
ROUNDUP: How DFW businesses are faring amid COVID-19

Here are 10 recent updates on the metroplex business and restaurant community, with stories on new businesses opening, old businesses struggling, owners making innovations and more.

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that independent, freestanding ERs in Texas and several other states can be recognized health care providers eligible for reimbursement for treating Medicaid and Medicare patients during the coronavirus pandemic. (Cherry He/Community Impact Newspaper)
Freestanding ERs in Texas can now care for Medicaid, Medicare patients during pandemic

In April, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced that independent, freestanding ERs in Texas and several other states can be recognized health care providers eligible for reimbursement for treating Medicaid and Medicare patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mimi Conner (right) unloads food from her car after picking up nonperishable foods from the North Texas Food Bank and purchasing foods from Aldi, with help from volunteer Michelle Leavitt. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
North Texas Food Bank says new donation will provide 300,000 meals for residents in need

The North Texas Food Bank received a $100,000 donation from online retailer Amazon as the nonprofit continues to provide meals for residents in need.