For the first time, zebra mussels have been documented in the Brazos River Basin in Lake Belton, an infestation nearly 200 miles south of where zebra mussels were previously found in Texas. This means that lakes in Central Texas are at even greater risk of infestation.
“The Lake Belton discovery underscores how critical it is for boaters all across Texas to get informed and involved to help stop the spread of zebra mussels ,” said Brian Van Zee, TPWD Inland Fisheries regional director based in Waco. “Unfortunately, zebra mussel larvae, called veligers, are not visible to the naked eye. You could be transporting them on your boat and not even know it. This is why it’s particularly important to always Clean, Drain, and Dry your boat and gear before heading to another water body.”
As a result of this recent discovery, Lakes Belton and Stillhouse Hollow, and portions of the Leon and Lampasas rivers have been added to an emergency rule and are now under special regulation. Boaters who drain their boats and gear will not be considered in violation of rules prohibiting possession of zebra mussels. Read the full story of the discovery.
New rules are also in the works to fight zebra mussels. Under these proposed rules, boats operating on public water in 17 Northeast Texas counties will be required to be drained after use. This would apply to all types and sizes of boats, whether powered or not, personal watercraft, sailboats, or any other vessel used to travel on public waters in these counties: Collin, Cooke, Dallas, Denton, Fannin, Grayson, Hood, Jack, Kaufman, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Rockwall, Stephens, Tarrant, Wise, and Young.
The public can comment on the proposed rules through 5:00 p.m. on November 6. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission is expected to take action on the proposed change at is November 7 meeting.