Important Zebra Mussel Message for Registered Boaters from TP&WD

Important Message for Registered Boaters

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This is an important message
for registered Texas boat owners

Dear Boat Owner,

Right now, our lakes and rivers are under attack by Zebra Mussels. In Texas, Lake Ray Roberts and Lake Texoma are already infested — and without your help, they will spread throughout the state.

What are Zebra Mussels?
Don't Be a CarrierZebra Mussels are a small, destructive invasive species that can spread by hitching a ride on boats and trailers. They grow to about 1 ½ inches and develop a distinctive zebra-striped shell. One Zebra Mussel can produce up to one million microscopic larvae. They can cause tremendous environmental and economic damage such as:

  • Encrusting and adding weight to boat hulls; clogging water systems used in boat motors, air conditioners and heads.
  • Threatening our water supply by colonizing inside pipelines, restricting the flow of water, and damaging water intake structures which results in higher water bills for homes and businesses.
  • Taking over habitats from native species, damaging lake ecology and impacting fish populations .

It’s Illegal to Transport Zebra Mussels
Unfortunately, you may be “in possession” of Zebra Mussels, and not even know it. That is because young Zebra Mussels in their larval stage can survive for days in water left in your boat and are invisible to the naked eye!

We wanted to make sure you are aware that it is ILLEGAL to possess or transport Zebra Mussels – knowingly OR unknowingly in the state of Texas. The law imposes fines of up to $500 for the first incident (a Class C misdemeanor), and steeper fines with possible jail time, for subsequent offenses.

Stop the spread and avoid breaking the law
Boaters can take a few simple precautions to help ensure they are in compliance with the law.

  • CLEAN. Clean off any vegetation, mud or foreign objects on the boat, trailer and gear before you leave the lake
  • DRAIN. The law requires that boaters drain all water from the boat, including the motor, bilge, livewells and bait buckets — before leaving an infested lake.
  • DRY. Dry the boat and trailer for a week or more before entering another water body. If unable to let it dry for at least a week, wash it with a high-pressure washer and hot (at least 140-degree), soapy water.

Watch this video to see how to effectively clean and/or decontaminate your boat.


Visit TexasInvasives.org/ZebraMussels to find more on:
  • How to identify adult Zebra Mussels
  • The damage they cause to boats and how to clean/decontaminate your boat
  • Reporting a Zebra Mussel sighting
  • How to request additional information

Thank you for doing your part to save Texas’ lakes and rivers.

Hello Zebra Mussels. Goodbye Texas Lakes.

Thanks to the following Texas Parks and Wildlife campaign partners: Tarrant Regional Water District, Trinity River Authority, City of Dallas, North Texas Municipal Water District, City of Waco, Sabine River Authority, Brazos River Authority, City of Grapevine, San Jacinto River Authority, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, City of Houston, Upper Trinity Regional Water District, and Canadian River Municipal Water Authority.

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