By Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer
Question: "What's the deal with this new sticker being required on boats? I heard it had something to do with snails so I thought it would be a fish and game issue."
Answer: You are no probably referring to the Idaho Invasive Species Fund sticker.
The 2009 Legislature adopted a proposal by the Idaho Department of Agriculture to develop a program to protect Idaho's rivers, lakes, and streams from aquatic invasive species that have already caused significant damage across the country. These plants and animals pose a serious threat to Idaho waterways, fisheries, irrigation systems, and recreation and are transported between bodies of water inside boat live wells, bilges, on boating equipment and on boat trailers.
Invasive species issues involve several state agencies but the Idaho Department of Agriculture's Invasive Species Program manages the fund. Since boats are involved with transport of the invasive organisms the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the agency that oversees boat registration, will issue the stickers and collect the fees.
A brochure from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation was sent to all owners of boats registered in Idaho. The brochure informs boaters about the new laws, sticker requirements, and where they can be obtained. To-date the stickers must be obtained through the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation by mail or electronically on their website at www.parksandrecreation.idaho.gov.
The annual cost is $10 per boat for residents owning motor or sail powered vessels, $20 for nonresident motorized vessels, and $5 for non-motorized vessels. Only inflatable vessels less than 10 feet long are exempt.
The "snail" you've heard about is the small mollusks called quagga and zebra mussels, both about the size of a fingernail. These prolific mollusks have potential to wreak havoc in all of Idaho's fresh water lakes and streams. Other invasive species include: Brazilian elodea, parrotfeather milfoil, water hyacinth, Eurasian watermilfoil, hydrilla, New Zealand mudsnails, and feathered mosquito fern.
To prevent the spread of these aquatic invasive species, thoroughly clean boats, trailers, anchors, propellers, axles, rollers, trolling motors, livewells and bilges, using hot water and pressure. Thoroughly dry all gear and watercraft for 5 days.
For more specific information about the program or the rules about display or purchase of the ISSF sticker go to www.invasivespecies.idaho.gov or call 1-877-336-8676.
If you have further questions you may call the Magic Valley regional office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at 208-324-4350 or contact us at the Fish and Game Web site at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.