Serving Franklin County, WA

Only 25 boats had zebra, Quagga mussles

State Department of Fish and Wildlife stops 32,000 boats in 11 months

ELTOPIA — Out of 32,000 boat inspections here along U.S. Highway 395 and in Spokane County, only 25 vessels were found to have invasive zebra and Quagga muscles.

In addition to the mussels, Fish and Wildlife employees said they found invasive aquatic plants in 632 boats and standing water in 168 boats.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife did not release any current information on how much taxpayer money was spent to man the stations for the last 11 months.

In the budget plan for the 2017-19 biennium, the agency projected the total cost of its invasive species monitoring program to be about $5.1 million per year.

However, officials justify the checkpoints by saying invasive species can affect water quality, power and irrigation systems, wildlife and recreation.

“Each year, we find more boats with invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species coming into our state,” Aquatic Invasive Species Enforcement Manager Capt. Eric Anderson said.

The agency said about a third of the 32,00 boats came from waters in other states; it did not say where the 25 vessels with mussels came from.


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