Manager’s Message – July 2022
Stop the Spread of Invasive Mussels
Summer is finally here! It is my favorite season and time to get out on the lake to fish, water ski or just enjoy a leisurely boat ride in the sun. If you take your boat out of the state, be careful before returning. Invasive quagga and zebra mussels are looking to hitchhike a ride to our pristine Idaho and Montana waterways.
These invasive mussels wreak havoc wherever they call home. They deplete nutrients in the water and upset the ecosystem. They also colonize on hulls of boats, recreational equipment, irrigation equipment and hydroelectric power plant equipment. Once they move in, they are pretty much a permanent houseguest.
How do you go about keeping those pesky creatures from moving in? Clean. Drain. Dry. Clean any visible mud, plants or animals from your boat. Drain all water from the motor, bilge, livewell, and other water-containing devices. Dry all areas of your boat and equipment.
If you are commercially hauling watercraft to Washington, Oregon, Idaho or Montana, you need to “Call Before You Haul,” (844) 311-4873, to provide your hauling information to avoid costly delivery delays. This also ensures you are not violating state or federal laws pertaining to the unlawful transport of invasive species.
To protect our waterways, the state has set up a watercraft inspection station program focused on inspecting boats from affected states as they come across the state line. Inspections are free, but the cost of mussels is not. According to the Idaho Department of Agriculture, the estimated cost to Idaho alone would be $100 million annually if attempts fail to prevent an infestation. Inspection stations in Idaho have already intercepted 23 boats in 2022 carrying invasive mussels.
I hope you are enjoying your summer in the beautiful Inland Northwest! And remember: Clean. Drain. Dry.