What are zebra mussels?
Zebra mussels are a small, destructive invasive species that can spread across Texas by hitching a ride on boats and trailers. They grow to only about 1 ½ inches and develop a distinctive zebra-striped shell. One zebra mussel can produce up to one million microscopic larvae. Zebra mussels can cause tremendous environmental and economic damage – hurting aquatic life, damaging your boat, hindering water recreation and even threatening your water supply.
Where are zebra mussels?
Zebra mussels are currently in the following lakes: Texoma, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Bridgeport, Lavon and Belton. They have also been found on isolated occasions in Lake Ray Hubbard, Lake Grapevine, Lake Fork, Lake Takwoni, the Red River below Lake Texoma, the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, and Sister Grove Creek.
Clean your boat, trailer and gear by removing all plants, animals and foreign objects.
Drain all water from the boat, including the motor, bilge, livewells and bait buckets, before leaving the lake.
Dry the boat and trailer for a week or more before entering another water body. If unable to let it dry for at least a week, wash it with a high-pressure washer and hot (at least 140-degree), soapy water.
Transporting zebra mussels is illegal
Possession or transportation of zebra mussels in Texas is a Class C misdemeanor for the first offence, punishable by a fine of up to $500. Repeat offenses can be elevated to a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, jail time up to 180 days, or both.
In addition, under this law, anglers and boaters in 47 counties are required to take all reasonable steps to drain all water from their vessel, including live wells, bilges, motors, and any other receptacles or water intake systems. This applies to all types and sizes of boats used on public waters.