Idaho’s Quick Response to Quagga Mussels in the Snake
The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) was quick to action when it was discovered quagga mussels in the Snake River back in mid-September.
Idaho Governor Brad Little praised ISDA along with other state agencies for coming together to handle the issue. Unlike other states, the department of agriculture in Idaho is in charge of managing invasive species. There was even a plan written for this situation back in 2009.
"We just pulled that plan off the shelf and went to work," Governor Little said. "We had to get the chelated copper from the East Coast and do our due diligence and talk to the water agencies and started treatments at the beginning of the month (treatments were finished October 13th). Talking with other states with this problem, they didn't have any action for six months and they will all tell you that was a mistake so I am very pleased,. There wasn't any friction between our agencies and it was a big job for the Department of Agriculture."
Governor Little mentioned three reasons the plan worked:
1. It was the end of the inspection season for agriculture
2. There was a low flow to the river, did not have to worry about large flows carrying the mussels down river
3. The temperature of the water was just right for the mussels to uptake the treatment
The Snake River is not only used for agricultural purposes, but powers dams and flows into the Columbia River and Washington and Oregon who also use the river.
"We believe," Little said while noting he was knocking on wood, "that this will be the only river body, if we're successful, where we would have eradicated it (quagga mussels). There's nothing I regret about what we've done there, and I can't say that about many things that happen in government."
Overall, it was a team effort with ISDA leading the way while Game & Fish, Department of Transportation, Idaho Power Company, and others to make the plan come together.
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Gallery Credit: Kat