Friday, July 19, 2024

Idaho boosts efforts to combat invasive species

| July 3, 2024 1:00 AM

New laws to combat aquatic invasive species in Idaho will take effect July 1, Idaho Department of Agriculture officials announced Monday.

The changes include mandatory inspection and decontamination for out-of-state watercraft, requirements for removing drain plugs and opportunities for local watercraft inspection stations.

"Idaho adds additional tools in our fight to protect agriculture, power generation, recreation and private property," ISDA Director Chanel Tewalt said.

Under the new law, all out-of-state watercraft must be inspected and decontaminated at a station before launching. Nonresident owners must also purchase an invasive species sticker.

Before transporting any watercraft, operators must remove the drain plug and drain all water, including all internal compartments, such as ballasts, bilges, live wells and motors. All bilge and ballast plugs and other barriers that prevent water drainage from a conveyance must be removed and remain open while a watercraft is transported by land within the state. 

Funding is now available for counties, cities or other local entities for equipment and supply costs necessary for the operation of watercraft inspection stations. Up to 20% of the invasive species sticker fund's annual revenue is available by ISDA for this partnership opportunity. Local entities interested should contact ISDA for further information.  

A conveyance or watercraft includes but is not limited to a boat, kayak, paddleboard, inflatable watercraft, sailboat, trailer or any other means or method of water transportation.  

The ISDA operates a hotline (1-877-336-8676) for information and free decontamination washes.

Invasive species stickers can be purchased from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation website.