At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, the Board of Directors of the Brown County Water Improvement District heard a report about the recent discovery of zebra mussels in Lake Brownwood.
According to District General Manager John Allen “We have found two on a pontoon boat that had been in the water since last November. We also found, over the weekend, two that were on a pipe underneath a dock on Goat Island. Our Lake Patrol officers found one stuck to a buoy at the lake. So there have been five adult zebra mussels found in Lake Brownwood so far.”
Zebra mussels are an invasive pest, and very aggressive. Their population grows exponentially. They attach to most any solid surface and start building their colonies. Allen explained that an adult zebra mussel will “filter” one liter of water per day, extracting their nutrition from the minerals in the water. That clears up the water, but has negative effects on the fish population in the lake.
“There is no known cure for zebra mussels,” said Allen. “Once your lake has them, they are just there. The only thing we can do at this point is protect the infrastructure from clogging the intakes in the pumps. That is what we are working to accomplish at this point. It will be a very expensive process.”
Allen encouraged everyone to check their boats and docks. If you find zebra mussels, or suspected zebra mussels, please contact the Water District office, or the Lake Patrol.
The Board also voted a change in District policy, to allow District employees to carry a concealed weapon while on the job, if the employee has a Concealed Carry Permit from the State of Texas. The change in policy was requested by District employee Joel Hoover of the Maintenance Department. He said that his work sometimes takes him to unsafe areas of the county. In addition, Maintenance Department manager Dale Weaver said that in the course of their work, it is not unusual to encounter dangerous wildlife, such as poisonous snakes, coyotes, and rabid skunks.
District General Counsel Bart Johnson, Jr., gave the oath of office to a new Lake Patrolman, Samantha A. Morell.
General Manager Allen reported that he has had discussions with Bob Contreras, grant coordinator for Brown County, concerning funds the County will receive from the American Cares Act. The County will receive $3.6 million to be used for infrastructure improvements. The District would like to add emergency generators at the water treatment plant, to avoid situations like the power outage experienced during the deep freeze in February. Early estimates for the generators are approximately $2.7 million. The Board authorized Allen to continue to pursue this possible funding.
In other business, the Board voted to:
*** Issued a fireworks permit to Wild Duck Marina for Saturday, July 3.
*** Extended a six year lease agreement with Brad Tyson for the District’s Lake Brownwood Residence house.
*** Approved the hiring of Merritt, McLane, and Hamby, P.C., of Abilene, as auditor for the District’s 2020/2021 fiscal year.