Authorities track down mussel-fouled boat - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Authorities track down mussel-fouled boat

Quagga and zebra mussels can clog agricultural irrigation pipes, impact power generation, encrust native species and disrupt the food web Quagga and zebra mussels can clog agricultural irrigation pipes, impact power generation, encrust native species and disrupt the food web

SPOKANE, Wash. - Acting on a report from a witness, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture was able to track down a boat contaminated with an invassive mussel.

The boat was from Lake Mead in Nevada and a Utah resident spotted the boat traveling north toward the Idaho state line.

"This citizen report set into motion a series of contacts to authorities and marina operators in the tri-state area, which resulted in the successful interception of the boat in Spokane, Washington," said Celia Gould, director of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

Authorities say the actions helped avert a serious environmental and economic threat by enabling authorities to keep the fouled boat from launching into any Pacific Northwest waters.

Quagga and zebra mussels are not known to occur in Idaho, Montana, Oregon or Washington.

If introduced in Idaho, it has been estimated that the fouling mussels could cost taxpayers $100 million annually. Mussels can rapidly colonize a water body and live for several days out of the water.They clog pipes, foul infrastructure and damage recreational equipment. To eliminate the risk of accidental introduction, boat owners must clean, drain and dry boats and equipment before moving a vessel from one water body to another.

Idaho officials have approved creating inspection stations around the state to check boats for quagga and zebra mussel contamination. Other measures being taken to combat the invasive mussels include a billboard campaign, signs on highways and boat ramps and education efforts.

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