New Rules for Texoma, Lavon Boaters to Contain Zebra Mussels

Boats, buckets of lake water must be emptied before leaving ramp

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The state is taking preventative measures to ensure zebra mussels are not transferred by boaters from lake to lake. The clean, drain and dry rule goes into effect this Thursday.

    State regulators are hoping three simple steps prevent the spread of zebra mussels into the Trinity River Basin.

    The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will begin enforcing on May 17 the new "clean, drain and dry" rule -- a regulation for boaters and anglers on lakes Texoma and Lavon and parts of the Red River.

    "Whether or not it can be effective, it is what we can do," said Bruce Hysmith, TPWD fisheries biologist.

    Hysmith said boats from other infested parts of the country brought to Lake Texoma.

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    Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are urging Fourth of July holiday boaters to take precautions to prevent the spread of the invasive zebra mussel.

    The infestation has since made more than 25 percent of the North Texas Municipal Water District's water supply unavailable -- something the TPWD hopes will not happen at Lavon, a major reservoir.

    Boaters leaving Lake Texoma or Lake Lavon must clean their boat of debris, drain it of any excess water (including dumping buckets of lake water) and allow the boat to dry completely before putting it into another body of water.

    However, the regulation allows a boater to go from one boat ramp to another on the same lake without going through the process.

    The regulations make sense to avid boaters such as Keith Beltz, of Rockwall.

    "I do that, anyway," he said. "Usually when I leave the dock, there is little to no water on the boat."

    Hysmith said people who do not comply with the new rules could face fines.