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Environment

Live Quagga Mussel Found On Boat Entering Idaho

quagga_ap_otto_kitsinger.jpg
Otto Kitsinger
/
Associated Press
Idaho Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, shows a three month growth of invasive species the quagga mussel.

Inspection officials found a live quagga mussel on a boat on the Idaho/Nevada border. It’s the third infested boat found this year trying to enter the state.

The boat was found at the U.S. Highway 93 inspection station. It spent the last three months at Lake Havasu, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels.

The invasive species can spread rapidly once they’ve entered a waterway. Idaho’s lakes and rivers are currently free of the mussels. A report to the Idaho Legislature this year found that a quagga mussel infestation could damage vital infrastructure like dams and irrigation pipes and could cost the state $100 million in lost economic activity. It is illegal to bring an invasive species into Idaho.

Since inspections began in 2009, more than 450,000 boats have been checked. Nearly 165 boats were infected with Zebra or quagga mussels. Idaho’s Invasive Species Program will open 19 inspection stations around the state this year.

The infected boat is under quarantine at the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office. It will be held for up to 30 days while it is decontaminated.

Find Samantha Wright on Twitter @samwrightradio

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