New Boating Law - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

New Boating Law

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A new law aims to protect Texas waterways from invasive zebra Mussels. 

On Tuesday a new Texas state law went into effect requiring all boaters to drain all water from boat and live wells upon exiting freshwater lakes. 

The Texas Department of Wildlife says its to prevent the spread of the zebra mussels. An aquatic microscopic species that is naked to the eye, but its effects on water are massive.

"It's probably a good idea, because they can cause a lot of trouble in a lot of lakes," said Steve Brown, an avid boater.

He said when it comes to his boat and zebra mussels, his boat comes first.

"We usually drain and clean our boat between lakes anyway," said Steve. "Plus, just keeping the upkeep on it is a lot simpler between times." 

Rodney Brown, Owner of Larry's Marine Center said these aquatic species have been around for sometime. Brown said up north near the Great Lake region they are terrible, but said there are some here. 

"That's why texas has passed a law to try and slow this down before it gets out of hand," said Brown. 

Rodney makes his living selling boats and said zebra mussels not only cause problems in water, but can also damage boats.  

"They get in there and stop up the thermostats and some of the other internal parts as far as the cooling system," said Brown. "Now after a period of time of sitting in a marina in stuff they'll grow back and they'll actually completely close this off."

Brown said when boaters go from one waterway to another in a short period of time or do not clean their water crafts it contributes to the spread of the invasive species. 

Richard Werth, a longtime fisherman doesn't think the new law and The Texas Parks and Wildlife campaign to clean, drain and dry will fix the problem. 

"I don't think they'll ever be able to stop the complete transportation of zebra mussels, unless they put a cleaning station on every ramp, on every lake in the state," said Werth. 

Werth said even doing that will not solve the problem, because Texas boater owners and fisherman are not the only people to use state waterways.  

"You still have boaters coming from Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana and they can transport them into the state too," said Werth.

The new law states that if anyone is caught with the possession or transportation of zebra mussels it is a class c misdemeanor for the first offense and boat owners can be fined up to $500.

Jimmie Johnson, Newschannel 6