Beware: If You Don’t “Clean, Drain, and Dry” You Can Be Fined $500
All Texans, beware. The "Clean, Drain, and Dry" law requires boaters drain all water from their boats and any other water-carrying containers and receptacles, including things like bait buckets and fish-retaining coolers, before returning to the road.
Brian Van Zee, Regional Director of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries says, "The invasive species that have been infesting lakes throughout Texas for the last several years are still being spread to other Texas lakes that, for the most part, have been safe and clean of these invasive species."
Click on the audio below to hear the TPWD toe-tapping little tune.
Director Van Zee went on to say that "in order for us to protect the lakes in Texas that are not infested, and possibly begin cleaning up those that are infested, we must all work together." These invasive species cause harm to the aquatic ecosystem, water infrastructure, and the recreational experience we enjoy from our lakes. The transportation of these organisms can and will result in legal issues for boaters.
If caught transporting the prohibited aquatic invasive species you can be ticketed and fined up to $500.
When I interviewed Monica McGarrity, TPWD Senior Scientist for Aquatic Invasive Species, she clarified that "zebra mussels and quagga mussels attach themselves to boats or anchors or plants clinging to boats and trailers. The microscopic zebra mussel larvae can be transported in residual water in the boat. Taking just a few minutes to clean, drain, and dry everything can make a huge difference in our efforts to prevent the further spread of these highly damaging species that harm our precious Texas lakes.”
Please be aware that the TPWD is serious about "Clean, Drain, and Dry" before leaving the lake. If caught transporting prohibited aquatic invasive species and organisms, you can be ticketed and fined up to $500 per violation. For more direction on how to properly clean, drain, and dry boats and equipment, visit the TPWD YouTube channel for instructional videos like the one below. Source: tpwd.texas.gov/StopInvasives.
Anyone who spots invasive species on boats, trailers, or equipment that is being transported can help prevent new introductions by reporting the sighting to TPWD at (512) 389-4848. If you find invasive species in lakes where they haven’t been found before, you can email photos and the location to: firstname.lastname@example.org.