More retail stores are selling boat stickers that generate revenue for the state’s invasive species prevention efforts after state lawmakers increased fees and let stores pocket much of that increase. Only non-motorized boats, including canoes rafts, and kayaks, and boats registered in another state need the extra sticker to go into Idaho waters, since the $10 invasive species fee is now included on Idaho boat registrations. Canoers and non-residents will pay $2 more this year for the sticker, thanks to a law passed by the Legislature this year. Retailers will get to keep $1.50 from sticker sales to cover their operating costs.
A new list on the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) (pdf) shows 36 stores in Idaho and Washington that now sell the invasive species boat stickers. A similar list available earlier this month on the ISDA website listed 20 stores. Non-residents and non-motorized boaters can also buy boat stickers online or at any Idaho state park, as well as two offices of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) and several Spokane-area vehicle-licensing offices. Credit card processors would keep a portion of online boat sticker sales, and parks would keep $1.50 from sales to cover their costs
“We are encouraging vendors statewide to carry the stickers,” said Tom Woolf, ISDA’s aquatic plant program manager. “Last year, our distribution network wasn’t that great at getting stickers out there. People had trouble finding places to buy them.”
IDPR spokeswoman Jennifer Wernex said the department is asking its list of stores that cater to boaters or sell fishing licenses or other state licenses if they want to sell the stickers for non-resident and non-motorized boaters. “That $1.50 really does make it more attractive to stores,” she said. Similar state licenses for boats, off-road vehicles, and snowmobiles also include a portion of money for sellers. Wernex said the extra fee and tying the $10 for motorized boats are needed improvements for the second year of the state’s invasive species sticker program. “We had a year of implementation to be able to organize ourselves, take a step back, and take a look at the process,” she said. “Right out of the chute, we knew we needed to make it more convenient.”
Money generated from the boat stickers will fund the state’s boat inspection program, designed to prevent invasive quagga and zebra mussels from entering Idaho. Neighboring states, including Utah and Nevada, have reported the mussels in their waters. State conservation officials say the prolific mussels can wreak havoc on Idaho’s rivers, streams, and lakes. Clean up to get rid of the mussels is estimated by ISDA at costs of up to $90 million. The current inspection process costs less than $3 million. Much of the funding for the program comes from the boat stickers, though state tax dollars are paying part of the costs. This year, lawmakers approved spending $282,200 in general fund dollars for the program. It remains unclear whether the state will spend more or less on the program going forward.
This year, the state will have 18 inspection stations to check boats for potentially clinging mussels. Boat checks stations will start opening for in early May, mostly in southern Idaho, and remain open until late September. Any boaters going onto Idaho waters this year will need either a boat sticker or a boat registration. The cost of registering a boat starts at $30, plus $2 for each additional foot in length of the boat beyond 12 feet. Any paddler or out-of-state boater without a invasive species sticker faces a $57 fine, according to the ISDA. Boats that are inflatable and less than 10 feet long do not need a sticker.