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?
The following Texas lakes are classified as “infested” with zebra mussels: Texoma, Ray Roberts, Lewisville, Bridgeport, Dean Gilbert (a 45-acre Community Fishing Lake in Sherman) and Belton. Lakes Waco and Lavon are classified as “positive” for zebra mussels. Lakes Fork and Ray Hubbard, and Fishing Hole Lake, are classified as “suspect”. Zebra mussels have also been found in the Red River below Texoma, the Elm Fork of the Trinity River below Ray Roberts, the Leon River below Belton and had been found in Sister Grove Creek (considered likely eradicated). A boat with zebra mussels attached was found in Ray Hubbard. View map.
Clean your boat, trailer and gear by removing all plants, animals and foreign objects.
Drain all water from the boat, including the motor, bilge, live wells 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 offense, 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.
Boaters are required to drain all water from their vessel, including live wells, bilges, motors and any other receptacles, before approaching or leaving a water body. This applies to all types and sizes of boats used on fresh waters, effective July 1.
Learn more about regulations related to zebra mussels.