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David Sparks Ph.d Quagga Interception
by David Sparks Ph.d, click here for bio

Program: Idaho Ag Today
Date: March 24, 2017

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The Idaho State Department of Agriculture’s (ISDA) Invasive Species Program announced the recent interception and impoundment of a mussel-fouled watercraft at the U.S. Highway 93 inspection station.

 The intercepted watercraft was put under an ISDA hold order and is under quarantine at the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office. Decontamination under the ISDA hold order will include a high-pressure, high-temperature wash of the exterior and trailer and a hot-water wash and flush of plumbing, bilge, and live wells. The vessel will be held for up to 30 days while it is decontaminated. 

 For more than three months, the fouled watercraft had been in Lake Havasu – a known quagga mussel and zebra mussel-infested waterbody – and was destined for Alberta, Canada. The boat was not inspected or decontaminated when it left Lake Havasu. This is the third fouled vessel identified by ISDA’s Invasive Species Program this year, including two others carrying dead mussels. 

Many ISDA boat inspection stations have already opened for the season: U.S. Highway 93, Cotterell, Malad, Cedars (Interstate 90, westbound) and Rose Lake (State Highway 3, southbound).  The Bruneau and Marsing stations will open this Friday, March 24.  A total of 19 stations will be open for the 2017 season. Additionally, ISDA will be operating roving stations at locations around the state. 

Monday’s interception is an example of the importance of the partnerships for ISDA’s Invasive Species Program. The ISDA has entered into agreements with the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s office, as well as other law enforcement entities, to provide enhanced services and enforcement at invasive species check stations. The program also benefits from the cooperation of counties, conservation districts and other entities.

ISDA has conducted Invasive Species Program watercraft inspections since 2009. Program decisions and strategies are driven by data to best leverage funding with known priorities and risks. To date, over 450,000 watercraft inspections have been performed, including nearly 90,000 in 2016. Those inspections have identified nearly 165 fouled watercraft carrying zebra or quagga mussels, including 19 watercraft in 2016. ISDA’s boat inspection stations serve an important role in preventing the introduction or movement of invasive species and noxious weeds, which could be devastating to the health of Idaho’s waterbodies and the state’s economy.


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