Watercraft inspection station to open in Bonners Ferry

Boundary County Soil Conservation District is set to open an Idaho State Department of Agriculture watercraft inspection station in Bonners Ferry. Starting June 12, the station will serve as a critical checkpoint to prevent the spread of invasive species into local waterways. The station will be located off of Ash and Arizona Streets. The ISDA Invasive Species Program reminds boaters to take precautions to avoid transporting invasive species, such as quagga and zebra mussels.

All boat owners must stop for mandatory inspection when traveling past watercraft inspection stations during operating hours.

“Watercraft inspection stations play an essential role in protecting Idaho’s waterways.” said Nicholas Zurfluh, section manager, ISDA Invasive Species Program. “ISDA relies on boat owners across the state taking responsibility for stopping at the inspection stations. We greatly appreciate the public’s cooperation and dedication to protecting our state from invasive species.”

Invasive species pose a major threat to Idaho’s waters, native species, agriculture, utilities and municipalities. Quagga and zebra mussels could cost the state nearly $100 million annually in damage and lost revenue.

Watercraft owners can reduce the risk of spreading invasive species by using three simple and effective strategies: Clean watercraft and equipment before leaving any waterbody. Inspect and clean watercraft, anchors, planes, trailers, waders, lifejackets and any gear for visible plants and animals. Remove and dispose of material on-site in a trash receptacle or on high, dry ground where there is no danger of it washing into a waterbody. Drain water from all equipment, including motors, live wells, sea strainers, wakeboard ballast tanks, boat hulls, scuba gear, bait buckets, waders and boots. Pull the boat’s bilge plug and allow water to drain. Dry all vessel compartments and lay equipment out to dry before using in a different waterbody or watershed.

More than 1,000,000 inspections have been conducted in Idaho under this program since 2009. Through inspections, 413 mussel-fouled watercrafts have been intercepted safeguarding Idaho waterbodies as well as those traveling through Idaho to the Pacific Northwest.

When entering the state, boat owners should look for road signage and electronic message boards directing to the inspection stations. A previous inspection by an Idaho station or neighboring state will help expedite an inspection, however boat owners are required to stop at all inspection stations along their travel routes. All watercraft or water related equipment regardless of size or propulsion, motorized and non-motorized are required to stop.

The ISDA operates a hotline (877) 336-8676 for anyone needing information or a free decontamination wash for watercraft that may have been in mussel-infested waters.

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