The Idaho Invasive Species Council has posted a short video on its website explaining the state’s mandatory boat inspection stations as well as the threat of invasive mussels to Idaho’s waterways and infrastructure.
The video said it could cost up to $100 million to repair the damage of quagga and zebra mussels to Idaho. The council, which includes members of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, pays for 19 boat inspection stations across the state with fees on boat registration and boat stickers, as well as some money from the state general fund.
“We’ve only got one chance to keep them out,” said Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould in the video. “Quaggas are a small, small mussel. They’re hard to see, and that’s why we’ve implemented the inspection and decontamination process.”
The video also features Rep. Eric Anderson, R-Priest Lake, who said the inspection program has been successful so far. Inspectors found mussels on a boat entering Idaho from Nevada earlier this month, according to The Times-News.
According to the invasive species council website, 18 inspection locations are open, and a station near Redfish Lake in central Idaho will open this week.
Idaho boat owners pay $10 on their boat registration to cover the cost of inspection. non-motorized boat owners must buy a boat sticker that costs $7, and non-residents must pay $22. Earlier this year, state lawmakers approved spending $280,200 in the current budget to cover additional costs for the invasive species program. The law creating the boat stickers went into effect in the middle of last year, so the stickers could generate more money this year, but an ISDA official said the inspection program may need additional state funding next year.
Lawmakers also approved a plan giving law enforcement more authority to stop cars that pass inspection stations and impound vessels that could have mussels on them. That law goes into effect on July 1.