Keeping boats clean and dry - invasive mussels

Invasive mussels can manifest in various sizes and can be hard to detect without detailed inspections.

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Idaho Power, along with officials from both Idaho and Oregon, are urging boaters to clean, drain and dry their craft before moving from one water body to the next. According to a news release, this is the best way to prevent the spread of invasive mussels, which can damage the region’s economy and environment.

Tiny invasive mussels can travel from one lake to another by stowing away on boats and other watercraft. Idaho Power recently hosted an emergency drill organized by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture to coordinate a response if the tiny creatures were discovered in the Snake River.

Preventing non-native quagga and zebra mussels from making it into lakes and reservoirs in our region is a major focus for agriculture, cities, industry and Idaho Power, which operates 17 hydroelectric dams on the Snake River and its tributaries.

Mussels reproduce quickly and anchor themselves to any solid underwater surface. Unchecked, they choke pipes and damage equipment. They can also overwhelm ecosystems, harming native fish and plants. To prevent the spread of mussels, Idaho and Oregon have set up inspection stations where anyone hauling a watercraft — from an inflatable kayak to a 100-foot yacht — is required to stop and have their boat checked for hitchhiking mussels.

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