State weighs draining boats to stem invasives’ drain on ecosystems

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Texas boaters appear almost certain to be drafted as combatants in a battle aimed at slowing spread of zebra mussels, an invasive mollusk that can cripple inland fisheries and already has cost Texans more than $300 million because of its effects on crucial water supply infrastructure.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission will next month consider adopting regulations mandating boaters approaching or leaving reservoirs, rivers or other public freshwater anywhere in the state drain and dry all water from their boat, live wells, bilges, motors, bait buckets and any other water-holding receptacles or face a citation carrying a fine of as much as $500.

Odds are good the commission will adopt the proposal that would expand “clean, drain and dry” rules recently put into place in 47 counties to all of Texas’ 254 counties. Members of the commission, which sets policy for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, earlier this year instructed agency staff to develop the proposal…

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Source: Houston Chronicle

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