Watercraft inspection stations seeing more checks for holiday weekend than last year

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(KMVT/KSVT) - As many people travel in and out of Idaho for their Fourth of July holiday weekend, more watercraft have been inspected as well.

File photo of a worker cleaning a watercraft (KMVT image)

In the last day for all Idaho inspection stations for watercraft, Nic Zurfluh, part of the Invasive Species Coordination and Outreach, said they have inspected almost 2,400 watercraft.

"In comparison to 2018, we were around probably 1,800 to 1,900 watercraft at this weekend last year," he told KMVT.

Zurfluh attributes this to the holiday falling on a Thursday this year, closer toward the weekend as opposed to last year when it was on a Wednesday.

"Every water craft inspection station in Idaho is opened at least all day light hours. So, essentially sun up to sun down and then there are several stations like Highway 93, near Jackpot, Nevada, or Cotterel on Interstate 84. They're opened 18 hours and 24 hours respectively," he explained.

He said they are starting to look at maybe keeping their check stations open for longer hours, but they need to collect more data first.

Throughout the season, which starts as early as February for some stations they have intercepted 35 mussel-fouled watercraft.

"All 35 of those have been dead and non-viable,' he said.

This is 35 of almost 49,000 watercraft inspections they've performed this year so far in the state.

"It’s been a pretty busy season," he said.

In 2018, they ended the season with about 50 mussel-fouled watercraft with more than 110,000 inspections.

"We’re actually finding a few aquatic plants attached to the boat. Clean, drain and dry also applies to the aquatic plants, especially those listed on a Idaho noxious weed statute," he said. "Very important to keep them from Idaho and keep them from spreading throughout Idaho."

Cleaning, draining and drying watercraft will also prevent invasive quagga and zebra mussel from infesting Idaho waters. Zurfluh said it also helps boat owners extend the longevity of their gear.

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