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Make sure you check for zebra mussels

New boating rules are in effect in an effort to combat the spread of zebra mussels.

Zebra mussel

Starting on [July 1], boaters are going to have to take an extra step to clean their vessels if they want to cruise around on different lakes. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says people will have to drain all the water in and on the boat before going to a new body of water in Texas.

The department is worried about the spread of Zebra Mussels and other invasive species. The state says it grows to be about one-and-a-half inches and will have a zebra-stripped shell. The problem is it can also have a million microscopic larvae which like to hide on boats and trailers.

“Unfortunately zebra mussels have a microscopic larval stage that when they get in the water you can’t see and if you have a bunch of water taken out of one lake and you go to the next and you can transport the zebra mussels and that’s one of the main ways they get transported is by boats from lake to lake,” says Ken Kurzawski, Inland Fisheries Division, Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Zebra Mussels can clog public-water intake pipes, harm boats and motors if they’re left untreated. It can cover boat hulls if boats and motors are left in infested waters. Zebra mussels can also block water-cooling systems and pester lake property owners by covering anything that’s under water.

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CLEAN DRAIN AND DRY

  • Clean boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, canoes, sail boats and other water vessels
  • Remove parts and clean
  • Drain all the water from motor, bilge, live wells and bait buckets before leaving lake
  • Dry boats and trailers for a week before going to another body of water
  • Use high-pressure washer with hot water, 140 degrees, and soapy water

The Parks and Wildlife Department also says people fishing also have to be careful. More information is listed on the state’s website.

See here for the background. The Express News has more information.

Texas Invasives, a partnership of “state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, green industry, academia and other private and public stakeholders who share in the common goal of protecting Texas from the threat of invasive species,” has information on their website for boaters for how the new law effects them, including tips on how to stop the spread invasive species. It offers advice on how to properly clean and take care of any vessel, and how boaters can report a sighting.

According to Texas Invasives, possession or transportation of zebra mussels is a class C misdemenor for the first offense carrying a fine of up to $500. Repeat offenders could face a class B misdemenor, a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both.

Here’s the Texas Invasives website. Those of you going out boating this weekend, please pay heed. We all can do a part to stop the spread of these invasives.

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