An aggressive state effort to eradicate invasive milfoil from Idaho lakes is resulting in “a significant reduction in Eurasian water milfoil populations statewide,” state Ag Director Celia Gould told legislative budget writers this morning. “In the past two seasons, all known lake populations in Idaho have been aggressively treated,” she said. In Cocolalla Lake, for example, 80 acres were treated in 2006 and 2007, and surveys afterward found no further infestation, Gould said. In Hayden Lake, 300 acres were treated, and now the infestation there is down to 7 acres. “Funding is requested to continue the fight against this aggressive invader and to continue the successful eradication effort,” she said.
After her presentation, Gould said, “There has been a lot of progress, but it’s such an aggressive problem that we really have to keep after it – we’ve got to get that one under control so we can start addressing quagga mussels and whatever hits us next.”
The fast-spreading mussels haven’t shown up in Idaho yet, but they’re spreading quickly into western states. Surrounding states have enacted strict laws, including Washington, which can intercept boats at the border and order mandatory cleanings and fines. “Idaho is instituting an outreach plan and an early detection monitoring network in an effort to keep Idaho free of the quagga mussel,” Gould told JFAC. “Quaggas threaten natural resources, agriculture, recreation and power generation.”
The department isn’t proposing any legislation at this point, Gould said, but some lawmakers are looking at it. “We’re certainly going to help out however we can with any technical assistance,” she said.