3 Simple steps for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species to Idaho waters

Simple steps for preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species to Idaho waters. (KBOI Staff Photo)

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is reminding boaters to be cautious this summer when it comes to invasive species. they have some simple tips to keep invasive species... like quagga and zebra mussels out of Idaho.

"What we are concerned about is zebra mussel and quagga mussels which is a very small mussel, that attaches to boats," says ISDA Invasive Species Coordination and Outreach Section Leader Nic Zurfluh.

"Currently Idaho has no Zebra or Quagga infestations that we know of, so prevention efforts as boats come in is very effective."

When entering Idaho, you may have seen these signs, all watercraft must stop.

"The Idaho State strategy is to position a water craft inspection station at the border as folks come into the state," Zurfluh says.

Zurfluh says if you are transporting any type of water craft, you must stop for an inspection.

And that doesn't mean just boats, that includes some items you may not think about, including river rafts, life jackets, even stand up paddle boards.

"If it's open during operating hours you are required to pull in," Zurfluh says.

He says there are ways you can help the inspection go even faster.

"One thing a boater can do before he shows up is to inspect his boat before, and know it quite well," Zurfluh says.

Prevention takes three easy steps.

"We want every Idahoan whether you are travelling to or through the state of Idaho, to ensure that your watercraft has been cleaned, drained and dried," Zurfluh says.

Zurfluh walked me through the process which he says is the most effective.

"Remove all organic or inorganic debris off that boat, any plants, any sediment, any mussels," says Zurfluh. "Then properly drain that boat including opening compartments and open all your hatches and let your boat dry out."

Always make sure your boat and all of it's contents are completely dry before launching into new waters.

And if an invasive species is found on your boat, Zurfluh tells me they use boiling water to kill the mussels on site. the inspections are always free.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of mitigation of management later," Zurfluh says.

For a map to your closest watercraft inspection station click HERE or to learn more about cleaning, draining and drying your boat click HERE.

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