Officials: Boat had invasive species onboard

Posted at 11:39 AM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 19:22:37-04

Idaho State Department of Agriculture officials say they have intercepted a boat on U.S. Highway 93, north of Jackpot, Nevada, carrying aquatic invasive species that are prohibited in Idaho.

The species reproduce and spread rapidly, clogging machinery and water pipes, as well as destroying aquatic ecosystems.

ISDA officials said the boat was recently bought in Nevada, after being moored in Lake Mead, a known quagga- and zebra-infested waterbody.

While traveling through Idaho to its final destination in Auburn, Washington, the person pulling the boat reportedly passed one of ISDA’s invasive species check stations without stopping for inspection, as required by Idaho law. A Twin Falls County Sheriff’s deputy stopped the boat hauler and escorted the vehicle back to the check station for inspection.

Field tests indicated the mussels in and on the boat were alive. The boat has been impounded by ISDA and will be released in the next thirty days after a complete decontamination.

The ISDA previously entered into agreements with the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s office -- as well as other law enforcement entities -- to provide enhanced services and enforcement at invasive species check stations. 

The ISDA has implemented the aquatic invasive species prevention program since 2009. To date, over 300,000 watercraft inspections have been performed, identifying nearly 145 boats carrying zebra or quagga mussels. 

With increased funding from the Idaho Legislature in 2016, ISDA has expanded the hours of operation at invasive species boat check stations across the state, ensuring that stations will be open during all daylight hours. Additionally, stations now will be open through October 31. The ISDA will operate a total of 16 fixed stations and three roving stations.