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A boat rope is shown infested with invasive mussels at an Idaho boat check station.

Idaho boat inspection stations caught a record number of watercraft fouled with invasive mussels so far in 2021, but state officials report that the state's waters remain free of the aquatic invaders, writes Post  Register reporter Jerry Painter. Inspections can still take place through December.

Nic Zurfluh, of the invasive species office of Idaho State Department of Agriculture, said 2021 was not quite as busy as 2020, but more zebra or quagga mussel-fouled boats were discovered at inspection stations coming into the state this year.

“We had a big year as far as quagga and zebra mussel-fouled boats,” Zurfluh said. “We’re currently at 52.”

The Malad inspection station for eastern Idaho, operated by the Onieda Soil and Water Conservation District, nabbed the lion’s share, catching 25 mussel-fouled boats in 2021. Inspection stations logged about 115,000 boats in 2021. The state has more than a dozen inspection stations, most on key highways crossing the border.

Inspection records show that most of the mussel-fouled boats passing through Malad had been plying the infested waters of Lake Powell in Utah.

You can read Painter's full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or look for it in today's Sunday/Monday Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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