- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Newly expanded boating rules to fight the spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species statewide are now in effect.

The rules taking effect Tuesday were proposed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. They require boaters on lakes and rivers statewide to drain watercraft to eliminate the spread of the pests.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted in May to expand statewide rules that had been imposed previously on a lake-by-lake and county-by-county basis.

Zebra mussels were first confirmed in Texas in Lake Texoma in 2009 and spread quickly through North Texas and into Central Texas, clogging pipes and damaging boat motors.

Authorities believe the infestations are accelerated by people who don’t drain and clean their boats and trailers and move from waterway to waterway around the state.

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