Boat checks for invasive species are under way

The Associated Press /

MEDFORD — Boat inspections to keep invasive mussels and other exotic species from choking Oregon’s waterways disinfected 51 boats last year, and the inspectors wonder how many they might have missed. So, this year at one checkpoint, the busiest last year, they’re starting work three months early.

Inspections began last week at the checkpoint along Interstate 5 at Ashland, looking at boat hulls and bilges for non-native species hitchhiking from California into Oregon, The Medford Mail Tribune reports reported.

In 2009, the Legislature created $5 boat permits to pay for a campaign to keep such invaders as zebra and quagga mussels from entering Oregon on boats coming from infected waterways such as Arizona’s Lake Mead and wreaking the sort of environmental havoc they’ve caused in other parts of the country such as the Great Lakes.

Boats found with invasive species are disinfected.

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