Boaters beware: Zebra mussels rule expanded statewide

In this undated photo provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, zebra mussels are seen attached to the motor of a boat. Zebra mussels may be small but the pesky, non-native shellfish are causing big headaches as they migrate southward into more North Texas lakes. (AP Photo/Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)
In this undated photo provided by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, zebra mussels are seen attached to the motor of a boat. Zebra mussels may be small but the pesky, non-native shellfish are causing big headaches as they migrate southward into more North Texas lakes. (AP Photo/Texas Parks and Wildlife Department)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Parks and Wildlife officials have expanded to the entire state a mandate that boaters on lakes and rivers drain their watercrafts to combat the spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission took the action Thursday. It takes effect July 1 but officials are urging boaters and fishermen to embrace the practice immediately.

Zebra mussels were first confirmed 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 infestations are accelerated by people who don’t drain and clean their boats and trailers and move from waterway to waterway around the state.

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