ATHENS (AP) — Holiday boating over Fourth of July weekend in Texas will include more regulations meant to stop the spread of invasive zebra mussels.
Updated rules that take effect Tuesday require all boaters to drain their vessels and on-board receptacles when near any bodies of fresh water.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department says the regulation applies to boaters leaving or approaching lakes and rivers. State officials say the rule applies to all types and sizes of boats whether motorized or not.
Zebra mussels were first confirmed in Texas in Lake Texoma in 2009. The aquatic pests, which can clog pipes and damage motor boats, then spread through North Texas and into Central Texas.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in May ordered the stricter cleaning rules statewide, effective July 1.