Texas declares war on zebra mussels

Starting July 1, boaters on Texas lakes and rivers will be required to drain their watercraft, in an attempt to curb the spread of invasive zebra mussels. 

US Dept of Agriculture/AP/File
Zebra mussels, such as these taken from Lake Erie, were first found in the United States in 1988 and have since forced power companies, water plants, and industries across the Great Lakes and Mississippi River drainage basin to spend billions to remove them from pipes and other equipment.

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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