The Handbook of Texas Boating Laws and Responsibilities
The Official Boating Handbook of the Texas Parks and Wildlife - Web Version
Table of Contents
Protect Texas Seagrasses
Seagrasses are plants totally adapted to living underwater. Their canopy of leaves and net of roots create a stable and protected habitat for marine life. It is this habitat that helps make the fishing great.
Seagrass benefits the environment by providing habitat for young stages of fish, crustaceans, and shellfish, which are important to commercial and recreational industries. Seagrass stabilizes bottom sediments and removes nutrients from the water, aiding the growth of the other marine life.
Seagrass loss in watersheds of estuarine and marine systems is caused by human activities such as dredge and fill activities, coastal development, nutrient pollution, degraded water, and uprooting by propellers.
If boating in shallow areas or seagrass beds, you will see a mud trail in your wake where your propeller has churned up the bottom, clouded the water, and cut seagrass roots.
If you see this trail you should:
- Lift. Stop your vessel. Tilt your motor out of the water.
- Drift. Use the wind to drift to and through dense submerged vegetation.
- Pole. Pole or walk your vessel out of the shallow area or seagrass bed.
- Troll. Use a trolling motor to navigate the shallow waters.
In Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, consisting of 30,000 acres of dense submerged vegetation located on the mid-central coast, it is against the law to uproot seagrasses with a propeller.