Manager’s Message – July 2023
Summer is finally here! It is my favorite season and the time to get out on the lake to fish, water ski or enjoy a leisurely boat ride in the sun. If you take your boat out of the state, be careful before returning. The 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 the nutrients in the water and upset the ecosystem. They also colonize hulls of boats, recreational equipment, irrigation equipment and hydroelectric power plant equipment. Once they move in, they are a permanent house guest.
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 at (844) 311-4873 to provide your hauling information and avoid costly delivery delays. This also ensures you are not violating state or federal laws regarding the unlawful transport of invasive species.
To protect our waterways, the state has 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 13 boats in 2023 carrying the invasive mussels.
I hope you are enjoying your summer in the beautiful Inland Northwest! And remember: Clean. Drain. Dry.