“We knew it was coming. It was just a matter of time.”
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issued a news release Thursday confirming the discovery of zebra mussel “veligers” or larva in water samples collected June 6 by the Tarrant Regional Water District. Using cross polarized light microscopy Dr. Bob McMahon with The University of Texas-Arlington confirmed those results on June 17.
“It’s like having chicken eggs but no chicken,” Chad Lorance, spokesman for TRWD said. “We haven’t found any settled juvenile or adult zebra mussels in the lake, but it’s very unlikely that we don’t have them in Lake Bridgeport.”
Earl Smith, Decatur’s director of public works, said the water district called City Manager Brett Shannon Tuesday and let him know about the discovery.
“There’s no visible sign yet, so there’s not any quality issue with drinking water at this time,” Smith said.
Decatur, Bridgeport and Runaway Bay all get their municipal drinking water supply from Lake Bridgeport.
Given the high mortality rates of zebra mussel veligers, the TRWD release stressed that there’s no guarantee an adult population exists – but it added, “Given these results and the DNA results from the past two years, it is likely that the lake is infested.”