AUSTIN – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has upgraded Richland Chambers Reservoir southeast of Dallas to fully “infested” with invasive zebra mussels. Fully infested status signifies that there is an established, reproducing population in the lake. The status change is a result of recent sampling efforts that revealed new evidence of reproducing and growing populations of zebra mussels in the lake.
Zebra mussels were discovered for the first time in 2017 when the Tarrant Regional Water District located several adults on multiple occasions in a single cove near the dam. This resulted in a zebra mussel “positive” designation for Richland Chambers at the time. The Tarrant Regional Water District responded by conducting a localized treatment in the cove, using a novel low-dose copper compound, in an effort to eradicate the mussels.
Sampling efforts did not detect any zebra mussels in 2018 or 2019 but in 2020 Tarrant Regional Water District and TPWD staff found zebra mussels at two locations near the cove where they were found in 2017 and at the Kingswood boat ramp approximately two miles upstream. The discovery at the new boat ramp location provided evidence that the mussels have begun to spread in the lake. In addition, multiple size classes were found, which indicates a reproducing population in the reservoir.
“Conditions in most Texas lakes are highly conducive to zebra mussel establishment. Once they are introduced to a water body, it’s only a matter of time before they fully infest the lake and have negative impacts which is why it is so important for all boaters to take steps to clean, drain, and dry their boats to prevent the spread,” says Monica McGarrity, TPWD Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species Management.
Earlier in the summer, TPWD elevated Grapevine Lake and O.H. Ivie Lake to