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Quagga Mussels larvae found, closing boat ramps along the Snake River in Twin Falls

Posted at 8:13 PM, Sep 20, 2023

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The Idaho State Department of Agriculture has closed boat rams along the Snake River in the Centennial Waterfront Park area after finding quagga mussel larvae, causing the ISDA to launch a rapid response plan.

Quagga mussels are considered an invasive species and could have a negative impact on Idaho's water systems. If left untreated, they can clog pipes that deliver water for drinking and agriculture, threaten native species, and potentially cost the state thousands of dollars.

“This is a very high priority for Idaho and for me, given the gravity of the risk. If we are not successful, an unchecked spread – which we are doing all we can to stop – has the potential to cost Idaho hundreds of millions of actual and indirect costs," said Idaho Governor Brad Little.

Included in the rapid response plan are notifying impacted entities, implementing containment measures, conducting delimiting surveys, and evaluating potential treatment options.

The ISDA is also asking for the public to stay out of the water in the Centennial Waterfront Park area to help prevent the spread. ISDA staff will be in the area on boats working to determine the full range of the impacted area.

Boat ramps and public access will be temporarily closed. The closure extends from Shoshone Falls downstream to the Highway 46 bridge across the Snake River north of Buhl. The closure also restricts access to ponds.

The affected properties within the Magic Valley Region include: Auger Falls Park, Yingst Grade, Scott’s Pond, Pugmire Park, Magic Valley Fish Hatchery, Cedar Draw Sportsmen’s Access, Bordewick Sportsmen’s Access, Niagara Springs Fish Hatchery and Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area.

“Our Invasive Species Program is prepared to respond to these findings quickly in an effort to contain mussel population growth in such a vulnerable area,” said Chanel Tewalt, ISDA Director. “We greatly appreciate the public’s cooperation and plan on opening the area as soon as possible to minimize the impact to businesses that rely on the Snake River."

Any boaters, kayakers, and paddleboarders are encouraged to clean, drain, and dry their watercraft before entering and after leaving any waterway to help prevent the spread of invasive species.

Inspection for all watercraft is required by law at several stops in the state.

For updates on the issue, visit agri.idaho.gov/main/plants/snake-river-quagga-mussel-veligers/.