The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is urging boaters and paddlers expected to hit the water Memorial Day weekend and this summer to clean, drain and dry their watercrafts and equipment to help avoid spreading zebra mussels to new locations.
The notice comes after zebra mussels were found in four more Central Texas lakes. Lakes Walter E. Long, Granger, Placide and Dunlap have been added to the list.
Officials say that most of the lakes they upgraded are downstream of infested reservoirs so the likelihood of zebra mussel larvae would disperse and invade is very high.
In Texas, transporting prohibited invasive species is punishable by a fine of up to $500 per violation.
Boaters are required to drain all water from their boat and onboard receptacles, including bait buckets, before leaving or approaching a body of fresh water in order to prevent the transfer of aquatic invasive species.
Additionally, boaters should remove all plant material from boats, trailers and tow vehicles and place it in a trash receptacle before leaving the lake.
Those using kayaks, stand up paddleboards, wet suits and any other equipment that comes into contact with the water should also take care to clean, drain and dry their gear, as microscopic zebra mussel larvae can survive on wet surfaces for up to three weeks.
You can get more information from TWPD here.