2023 watercraft inspection season is here
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) watercraft inspection stations have begun inspecting boats for the 2023 season.
The ISDA Invasive Species Program reminds boaters to take precautions to avoid transporting invasive species, such as quagga and zebra mussels. All boat owners must stop for mandatory inspection when traveling past an Idaho watercraft station during operating hours. Watercraft inspections began in early March, with so far two mussel-fouled boats intercepted at the I-15 N. station in Malad.
“Watercraft inspection stations play an essential role in protecting Idaho’s waterways,” said Nicholas Zurfluh, section manager, ISDA Invasive Species Program. “ISDA relies on boat owners across the state taking responsibility for stopping at the inspection stations. We greatly appreciate the public’s cooperation and dedication to protecting our state from invasive species.”
The introduction of invasive species into Idaho could damage water use by native species, agriculture, utilities and municipalities. If quagga or zebra mussels were to infest Idaho’s waters, as they have done in other states, it could cost the state nearly $100 million annually in damage and lost revenue.
Watercraft owners can reduce the risk of spreading invasive species by using three simple and effective strategies:
Clean watercraft and equipment before leaving any waterbody. Inspect and clean watercraft, anchors, planes, trailers, waders, shoes, life jackets, and scuba gear for visible plants and animals. Remove and dispose of material on-site in a trash receptacle or on high, dry ground where there is no danger of it washing into a water body.
Drain water from all equipment, including motors, live wells, sea strainers, wakeboard ballast tanks, boat hulls, scuba gear, bait buckets, waders and boots. Pull the boat’s bilge plug and allow water to drain.
Dry all vessel compartments and lay equipment out to dry before using in a different waterbody or watershed.
In 2022, the program performed more than 100,000 watercraft inspections and intercepted 36 mussel-fouled watercraft. Throughout the history of the program, Idaho stations have performed more than one million inspections intercepting 413 mussel-fouled watercraft prior to launching.
When entering the state, boat owners should look for road signage and electronic message boards directing them to the inspection stations. A previous inspection by an Idaho station or neighboring state will help expedite an inspection, however, boat owners are required to stop at all inspection stations along their travel routes. All watercraft or water-related equipment regardless of size or propulsion, motorized and non-motorized are required to stop.
The ISDA operates a hotline 877-336-8676 for anyone needing information or a free decontamination wash for watercraft that may have been in mussel-infested waters. More information on the operation and location of inspection stations is available on the Invasive Species of Idaho website.