Boat owners can get their vessel decontaminated from aquatic invasive species for free at a new facility scheduled to open June 1 in Ephrata.
Properly decontaminating boats can prevent hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental and economic damages caused by aquatic invasive species, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife news release.
The new station, located in the parking lot of the WDFW Regional Office at 1550 Alder Street NW, Ephrata, was funded by a $285,000 grant from the Recreation and Conservation Office.
“This decontamination station is a critical piece of infrastructure needed to prevent the spread of invasive mussels,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council in a news release. “If quagga and zebra mussels become established in Washington, it will cost over $100 million each year to keep our dams, drinking water and irrigation systems running. We all need to do our part to stop the spread of invasive species.”
Trained WDFW staff will conduct boat decontaminations at the new facility by appointment starting June 1. To schedule a free appointment, contact the AIS hotline at 1-888-WDFW-AIS (888-933-9247). Most decontaminations for boats under 26 feet take 30 minutes. Depending on the boat size and level of infestation, it can take up to two hours.
During the free fishing weekend on June 8-9, WDFW will provide free boat inspections and decontaminations without an appointment (first come, first served) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Washington has two watercraft check stations located off Interstate 90 on the Idaho/Washington border, and off Interstate 82 near the Oregon/Washington border. People passing by these watercraft check stations who are bringing a boat or other aquatic equipment into Washington must stop at the stations when they are open.
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