AUSTIN (May 22, 2014) The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approved a new regulation Thursday that requires that all boats operating on public fresh water anywhere in the state be drained before leaving or approaching a lake or river.
The rule is intended to help combat the further spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species.
The rule takes effect on July 1, but officials encouraged boaters and anglers to embrace the practice immediately.
Zebra mussels were first confirmed in 2009 in Texas in Lake Texoma in 2009 and since then have spread through North Texas and into Central Texas.
They can clog pipes and damage boat motors and have spread quickly.
Authorities believe the spread is accelerated by people who don't drain and clean their boats and trailers and move from waterway to waterway around the state.
“Zebra mussels have been moving steadily deeper into Texas since they were first found in Lake Texoma in 2009,” said Brian Van Zee, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Inland Fisheries Division regional director who has spearheaded the agency’s response to zebra mussels in Texas.
“Now that they are in Lake Belton, the Highland Lakes are in the cross hairs as are many of the public waters in Central Texas.”