DECLO,Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Invasive zebra and quagga mussels can have a major effect on the environment and can cost of millions of dollars if they get into Idaho waters.
As boating season starts to wind down, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture reported about 46 fouled boats were found and more than 102,000 inspections were completed across the state.
"Every one of the 46 mussels fouled boats that we've encountered so far this year. Have been non-viable dead mussel shells attached to boats that we believed are dead." said ISDA invasive species section manger Nic Zurfluh.
In 2017, 93,000 inspections were done and 31 fouled boats were found, Zuflufh attributes the increase this year on several factors, including longer operation hours at the sites and the help of law enforcement.
"For compliance and security at our sites, promoting our inspections," he said.
At the Cotterell Weight Station in Declo, nine fouled boats have been intercepted and more than 4,000 inspections done, it's just one of 20 watercraft inspections sites in the state.
Zurfluh said boats, kayaks and canoes are also inspected. If mussels are present, the staff removes them by hand and then conduct a "hot-wash".
"Properly decontaminate them and cleaned them and get them ready to launch in Idaho or the Pacific Northwest," he said.
Because if mussels are released into our waterways, it can impact human infrastructure as well.
"Hydro power, irrigation, municipal water systems, water delivery because of the clogging effect of this quagga, zebra mussels," Zurfluh said.
The inspection and cleaned up is a free and owners won't be penalize if their boats have mussels on them.