The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has added Lake Lewisville and Lake Ray Roberts to its emergency order in an effort to conrol the spread of zebra mussels. This means that boaters must drain all sources of water from their boats before they leave these emergency ordered bodies of water.
Each year other states spend millions of dollars controlling, cleaning, and monitoring zebra mussels - so prevention is key.
It’s a perfect way to beat the heat: a trip to the lake.“We hit Eagle Mountain…Grapevine, Bridgeport, first time up at Ray Roberts,” says boater, Chris Miller.
But boaters aren’t the only ones enjoying the lake. So are Zebra Mussels: a Russian native aquatic species that multiplies fast and can cause serious problems.
“Extremely damaging to natural systems -- the fisheries, economically, as well as you know municipalities,” says Lake Ray Roberts Park Superintendent, Chris True.
Zebra mussels made their first Texas debut in Lake Texoma in 2009. They have since spread and already this year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has added Lake Texoma, Lake Levon and most recetly Lake Ray Roberts, and Lake Lewisville to its emergency order.
“And basically what that rule does is it establishes—requires our boaters to drain all liquids from their boats before they leave the immediate lake area,” says True.
This helps prevent the spread of veliger to other lakes – which is the zebra mussel larvae – invisible to the naked eye. So far, boaters are being compliant.
“We’re gonna…we drain the bilge drain right there. And then I’m gonna leave the boat out of the water for about a week,” says Miller.
“Basically, when you get out of the water, you drain your boat and make sure it’s cleaned and drained,” says boater, Chris Meyers.
It’s a simple task tha t can help prevent a decrease in the fish population, clogged water supply systems, and even a spike in water bills. Texas Parks and Wildlife Officials are working hard to educate and inform boaters.
“Hopefully we’ll get the word out and folks will be careful when they’re moving their boats and their equipment and draining: clean, drain and dry,” says True.
Spread awareness is all a part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife's Department Public Awareness Campaign, "Hello Zebra Mussels, Goodbye Texas Lake: Clean, Drain, and Dry". The hope is to continue informing boaters of the devastating effects of zebra mussels.