With four Central Texas lakes receiving upgraded zebra mussel classifications this spring the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is urging the thousands of boaters and paddlers expected to hit the water this summer to clean, drain and dry their watercraft and equipment to help avoid spreading invasive species to new locations.
“Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off to boating season in Texas, and while we want everyone to have a great time we also want them to avoid giving free rides to invasive species when they travel to new lakes,” said Brian Van Zee, TPWD Inland Fisheries Regional Director.
“The best way to help keep Texas lakes fun for everyone and prevent the spread of destructive invasive species is to clean, drain and dry your boats and equipment—every time.”
As of May 2019, 18 Texas lakes are currently infested with invasive giant salvinia, and 15 Texas lakes are infested with an established, reproducing population of zebra mussels.
The newest additions to the list of nine positive lakes where zebra mussels have been detected on more than one occasion include Lake Walter E. Long, Lake Granger and Lake Dunlap. The newest addition to the list of six suspect lakes where zebra mussels or their larvae have been found only once in recent history is Lake Placid.
“Most of the lakes that received upgraded classifications are downstream of infested reservoirs, so the likelihood that zebra mussel larvae would disperse and invade them was high,” Van Zee said.
“But boaters still need to be extremely diligent about cleaning, draining and drying, because only boats, barges, and other equipment can transport zebra mussels upstream or to new river basins.”
Invasive species can harm the recreational experience at lakes and damage aquatic ecosystems. While zebra mussels and giant salvinia remain some of the biggest threats to Texas lakes, other highly invasive species can also be spread or introduced by in-state and out-of-state lake users, including water hyacinth and quagga mussels.
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.
While day-use boaters and paddlers can spread invasive species in just one trip, boats that have been stored on a lake that has zebra mussels pose the highest risk of spreading them to new lakes. Zebra mussels colonize hulls, propellers, water systems, and other parts of boats, including some spots where they are difficult to detect. TPWD has created a new website geared toward providing marinas and boat owners with guidance on decontamination and inspection procedures that must be performed before moving boats that have been stored in the water with zebra mussels to a new location.
TPWD and partners continually monitor for invasive species in Texas lakes, but anyone who finds them in lakes where they haven’t been found before or who spots them on boats, trailers or equipment that is being moved is encouraged to help prevent new introductions by reporting the sighting to TPWD immediately at (512) 389-4848 or by emailing photos and location to [email protected]
To learn more about giant salvinia, zebra mussels and other invasive species, visit https://tpwd.texas.gov/StopInvasives.
To minimize scheduling conflicts for 2019 inductees, sponsors and guests, the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors announced this week that they have rescheduled this year’s induction ceremonies to Thursday, October 3, 2019, to account for the postponement of a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on Oklahoma’s Fort Gibson Lake.
The annual induction banquet was originally scheduled for Thursday, September 19, which falls within the ‘make-up week’ B.A.S.S. had earlier set aside for competition should n Elie event have to be postponed.
“The Board has always been in full agreement that we must constantly balance our day-to-day responsibilities and our efforts on behalf of the Hall of Fame,” said BFHOF Board President Donald Howell.
“This decision makes it possible for the majority of our Board members to once again volunteer their time behind the scenes while also ensuring that the living subset of this year’s five honorees will be able to attend.”
The banquet is still being held at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, where the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame mission of ‘celebrating, promoting and preserving the sport of bass fishing’ is on display. Honorees include three stars of professional bass fishing—Mark Davis of Mt. Ida, Ark., David Fritts of Lexington, N.C., and Davy Hite of Ninety Six, S.C.—along with noted artist/illustrator, the late Chris Armstrong, and the founder of Zoom Bait Company, the late Ed Chambers.
“Our goal is to honor the legends of the sport and it would be a tremendous shame for many of our members to miss this gathering of greats due to circumstances outside of their control,” said John Mazurkiewicz, vice president of the Hall of Fame Board and Nominations Committee Chair.
“While we apologize to anyone this might inconvenience, we made the best situation out of what we were dealt. Our Board completely understands B.A.S.S.’s decision to postpone and reschedule their Elite event due to flooding conditions and safety concerns.”
“The five honorees will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame museum, which opened in November 2017 within the Wonders of Wildlife complex at the flagship Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield. On display in the museum are artifacts, photos and biographical information about 71 members of the Hall of Fame who have been inducted since 2001.
“We are proud that in a few short years the annual Bass Fishing Hall of Fame enshrinement dinner has become a must-attend event for anyone interested in bass fishing,” Howell notes.
“This was not an easy decision to make, but we look forward to seeing as many industry insiders, legends and fans as possible on October 3, and we assure you that there will be many opportunities to celebrate in the future.”
Information on event and table sponsorships, dinner seats and tickets for a special VIP unveiling reception, along with details about the Hall and its mission are available at BassFishingHOF.com, or by contacting BFHOF executive director Barbara Bowman at [email protected].