Idaho Begins Boat Inspections For Zebra Mussel

POST FALLS - Boating season is about to get underway and, once again, all boats entering Idaho must be inspected before hitting the water.

Inspection sites are now open to stop milfoil and mussels from invading Idaho's lakes and rivers. Zebra mussels have been traced back to a Ukrainian ship in the Great Lakes 30 years ago. They've spread across the United States but haven't reached Montana, Idaho or Washington yet.

"They reproduce at an incredible rate. A million offspring for one female in a season," Bruce Davis with the ISDA said.

Inspection sites have already caught five boats infected with zebra mussels this year.

"It is a big problem in other states, it's impacted recreation. It impacts natural habitat and wildlife and it impacts states that have been infected financially with water intake systems and maintenance of trying to keep things clean and free of mussels," Pamm Juker with the ISDA said.

All boats, including canoes, jet skis and inflatables over ten feet long that pass an Idaho inspection site must stop. If you fail to stop it's an $85 ticket.

"This is a free inspection and we also do decontamination for free. If we find a mussel there is no charge for us to decontaminate that vessel," Juker said.

Idaho says all boats should be cleaned, drained of all water and dry before being dropped into state waterways. Boats must also get an invasive species sticker. It's $22 and is purchased through the state department of parks and recreation. That fee pays for the inspection program.

For boat inspection locations click here.

Inspection stations will be open between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.