SHELLFISH – The Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area is implementing a mussell-free self-certification program.
Boaters will be asked to certify that their boats or personal watercraft are free of aquatic invasive species, according to a Dec. 26 Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area news release.
The program specifically targets quagga and zebra mussels. These mussels are native to Ukraine and Russia and can rapidly cover hard surfaces, clogging boat motor intake systems, water intakes, agricultural irrigation systems and hydroelectric power plants, according to the news release.
Boats that have been in infested waters must be drained, washed and dried for at least seven days before entering Lake Roosevelt, according to the release.
Currently the Columbia Basin in Washington, Oregon and Idaho is free of invasive mussels, the release said. However, researchers at the Pacific Northwest Economic Region estimate a mussel infestation would cost the Pacific Northwest $500 million annually.
In November, governors of 19 Western states petitioned the federal government for more help preventing the spread of invasive mussel species. In March, Idaho lawmakers approved a 40.2 percent increase in state funds for the Idaho Department of Agriculture. The increase came after the state’s boat inspection program was beefed up.
The Northwest is the last region of the country still free of the mussels.
Self-certification forms are available at nps.gov/laro.
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