Protect Our Waters
Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!
In order to manage and conserve our natural resources, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department enforces laws to protect our state waters against the introduction of exotic aquatic species. Fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants that are not native to Texas may compete with native animals and plants for food and space. Because introduced species lack natural enemies in their new environment, they can multiply and spread at an alarming rate, intefering with boat traffic, affecting water quality, and causing a range of other problems. For more information, visit TexasInvasives.org
Exotics often travel from one water body to another by "hitching a ride" on a watercraft. To curb the spread of these invasive species, boaters in Texas are required by law to remove harmful plants and animals from boats and trailers before leaving the vicinity of a lake, river, or bay.
Follow These Simple Steps
- Remove all plants, animals, and mud and thoroughly wash everything, including crevices and other hidden areas.
- Eliminate all water before leaving the area, including wells, ballast, and engine cooling water.
- Allow time for your boat to completely dry before launching in other waters.
If your boat has been in infested waters for an extended period of time, or if you cannot perform the required steps above, you should have your boat professionally cleaned with high-pressure scalding hot water (>140°F) before transporting to any other body of water.
The Clean Water Certification Program requires owners of boats with marine sanitation devices (MSDs) and owners of pump-out stations to obtain a decal, self-certifying that the MSD or pump-out station is operating properly to prevent the discharge of sewage into Texas waterways. The program is required under Texas law and is intended to protect and improve the quality of water in Texas. It is administered by the Texas Council on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).