The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) announced that two boat inspection stations, looking for invasive quagga and zebra mussels, will open on Tuesday.  Across the state, 18 inspection stations will be open this summer.  The first two stations to open will be near Bruneau near the intersection of Highway 51 and 78, and near Marsing on Highway 95.  Funding for the inspections comes from invasive species stickers and fees ranging from $7 to $22 charged to all boat owners that go on Idaho waters.

ISDA said its inspectors will look for boats coming to Idaho from states that have reported infestations of the invasive mussels, including Utah, Nevada, California, Colorado, and Arizona.  The agriculture department is encouraging people to make sure their boats are clean and dry when entering Idaho, to prevent the mussels from hitching a ride into the state.  “Idaho’s inspection program underscores the importance of preventing these mussels from becoming established in Idaho,” said ISDA Director Celia Gould in a news release. “If introduced, these mussels could impact Idaho’s waterbodies and recreation and likely impose a heavy maintenance burden on irrigated agriculture, power generation and water suppliers.”

Read the full ISDA news release below.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) announced Monday that mandatory watercraft inspection stations will begin opening in Idaho on Tuesday, April 27. The first stations to open in the state will be near the intersection of Hwy. 51 and Hwy. 78 near Bruneau and on Hwy. 95 near Marsing. A station at U.S. 93, just north of the Nevada state line, will open on Saturday, May 1. Additional stations will be opening statewide throughout the boating season. The stations will be open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week.

Boaters should expect inspections! The purpose of these stations is to inspect watercraft coming from outside of Idaho. Watercraft inspectors will be looking for high-risk boats that have been in quagga mussel- and zebra mussel-impacted states. Boats will be inspected for any attached mussels and/or standing water. Owners also will be asked where they have boated in the previous 30 days. It is important that boaters arrive in Idaho with a clean, drained and dry watercraft.

Idaho’s inspection program underscores the importance of preventing these mussels from becoming established in Idaho,” said Agriculture Director Celia Gould. “If introduced, these mussels could impact Idaho’s waterbodies and recreation and likely impose a heavy maintenance burden on irrigated agriculture, power generation and water suppliers.”

Zebra mussels and quagga mussels are invasive species. They are European in origin and range in size from microscopic to the size of a fingernail, depending on the life stage. They are prolific breeders and attach themselves to hard and soft surfaces, fouling freshwater ecosystems and clogging intake pipes that draw water from infested waterbodies. They cause significant maintenance challenges for raw-water systems, requiring millions of dollars annually to treat. Although populations have been widespread in the Great Lakes for almost two decades, these mussels were found for the first time west of the Continental Divide in the past three years, specifically in regions of Nevada, California, Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

The state is seeking the public’s help to prevent the introduction of this invasive species. Boats are the primary transporters of zebra mussels and quagga mussels. Mussels attached to watercraft or trailers can easily be transported to other waterbodies. Water in boat engines, bilges, live wells and buckets can carry microscopic mussel larvae (veligers) to other water bodies. Multiple state and federal agencies are urging boaters and watercraft users to clean, drain and dry boats and equipment before entering Idaho.

ISDA urges all boaters to take the following steps to prevent the introduction of the mussels to Idaho:

  • Inspect all exposed surfaces – small mussels feel like sandpaper to the touch
  • Wash the hull thoroughly, preferably with hot water
  • Remove all plant and animal material
  • Drain all water and dry all areas
  • Drain and dry the lower outboard unit
  • Clean and dry all live wells
  • Empty and dry any buckets
  • Dispose of all bait in the trash
  • Wait five days and keep watercraft dry between launches into different fresh waters

For more information contact Amy Ferriter at 208-332-8686 or email at amy.ferriter@agri.idaho.gov

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