They’re tiny but cause big trouble. Quagga mussel larvae have been discovered in the Snake River in the area of Centennial Park.  Zebra mussels and quagga mussels are serious problems back east.  A car was once pulled from Lake Erie and was covered in mussels.  They originally arrived from North America in the ballast of Russian ships.  Probably in the late 1970s.  In many places, the mussels have crowded out other species and wreaked havoc on pipes, sewers, irrigation and water systems.

The Idaho State Department of Agriculture is asking you to be vigilant and clean and dry watercraft.  It would be appreciated if you stayed off the river as scientists and staff work to contain the infestation.

Idaho has managed for decades to keep mussels out of most waterways.  This was due to thorough inspections of watercraft, especially when boaters were entering from out of state.

Removing mussels is easier when the animals are on a craft and before they go back into the water.  A bleach solution will work.  Unfortunately, you can’t bleach a river or lake.  Some efforts at cleanup would kill many native species.

This is going to require some serious cooperation from the public.  If you believe that a day of fishing is worth the risk of fouling other waterways and jeopardizing the agriculture industry, then I can only say you aren’t much of a citizen and less of a human being.  If you feel you need to kayak, find another location, or temporarily take up a new hobby and exercise.

This is a critical issue.

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