Legislative Joint Meeting

Invasive Species: Knocking on Idaho’s Door

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A presentation before the Senate Resources & Environment Committee and House Resources & Conservation Committee
Invited: Senate and House Agricultural Affairs Committees and House Environment, Energy & Technology Committee

When: Wednesday, February 22nd, 1:30 to 4 pm
Where: Idaho Statehouse Lincoln Auditorium

Quagga and Zebra Mussels, foreign aquatic species, have overtaken lakes and rivers, imperiling native species and overwhelming everything from hydropower intakes, agriculture pipelines, boats and shorelines, devastating Eastern US waters.

Recently, Montana has discovered mussel larvae in their lakes, and Montana’s Governor has declared a natural disaster.

If these invasive species invade Idaho, the entire Columbia River Basin, the Snake River Basin, and all native species and water users would be imperiled.

Idaho’s program in place to prevent the infestation of these species includes:

  • Boat inspections at our borders to identify and clean any infected out-of-state watercraft, and
  • A Rapid Response post-infestation program in place

To prevent infestation in Idaho, much more must be done.

Presentations will include an overview, comments from Invasive Species Interim Working Group Co-Chairs, and recommendations to be considered in this Legislative Session.

Overview

invasivesLast year the Idaho Legislature appointed a Legislative Interim Committee to further understand the threats of invasive species in Idaho; the particular focus has been on Quagga and Zebra Mussels.  Please view the full reports and presentations here.

Quagga and Zebra mussels are foreign aquatic species who have devastated Eastern U.S. waters since their discovery in the 1980s – they have overtaken lakes and rivers, imperiling native species and overwhelming everything from hydropower intakes, agriculture pipelines, boats and shorelines.

Idaho has a program in place to prevent the infestation of these species.  The front-line of these efforts has been boat inspections at our borders to inspect and clean any infected out-of-state watercraft.  We also have a Rapid Response post-infestation program in place.  However, from the conclusions of the Interim Committee, much more needs to be done.  Recently, our neighboring State Montana has discovered mussel larvae in their lakes, and Montana’s Governor has declared a natural disaster. Now Washington State has heightened urgency to protect their water bodies.

As of February 17, our speakers include:

  • Jesse Taylor, Bear Lake Watch, Overview and History of Quaggas in the U.S.
  • Representative Terry Gestrin, Report from the Idaho Legislative Interim Task Force on Invasive Species
  • Senator Mark Harris, 2017 Legislation and Funding
  • Matt Morrison, Pacific Northwest Economic Region, Potential Impacts to the Entire Columbia Basin River System
  • Lloyd Knight, Idaho Department of Agriculture, Current Prevention Efforts

Thank you to our co-sponsors, the Professional Firefighters of Idaho (link below), and for support from Mr. and Mrs. Steve Cory and the following (click for web links):

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