Austin authorities will enforce zebra mussel mandate

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 (KXAN) — Although zebra mussels have not been spotted in Austin area lakes, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission isn’t taking any chances.

On Thursday, officials 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, starting July 1.

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 attach themselves to boats and other water relayed surfaces, and in some cases could even affect water and cooling systems.

Authorities are spreading the word that once the zebra mussel mandate goes into effect across the state, anyone not cleaning, draining and drying their boat could receive a fine of $500 or more, depending on the jurisdiction.

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