Boat owners can now call ahead to arrange invasive species inspection
There’s a new tool in the fight against invasive aquatic species in the Pacific Northwest: Boat owners can now call ahead to arrange an inspection.
Quagga and zebra mussels can wreak havoc on aquatic infrastructure and native wildlife. The Pacific Northwest is among a handful of places where the destructive species haven’t widely spread. People bringing boats into the region aresupposed to have their watercraft inspected to make sure they aren’t unwittingly bringing the invasive mussels along.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission says the agency has launched a new hotline to make those inspections easier. Drivers can call ahead with their expected route and arrival time. The “Call Before You Haul” hotline number is 1-844-311-4873.
“When we know that route, we can make it really easy to connect with them, and quickly get their boat inspected, sealed, and–if it needs to be–decontaminated,” said spokesperson Lisa DeBruyckere.
Inspections are free and take about 10 minutes. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said in 2020, it conducted 23,040 roadside inspections on boats entering the state on both commercial and private vehicles.
Of those, 12 watercraft were found to have invasive zebra or quagga mussels and were the subject of a "hot water decontamination." More than 260 others were found to have another unspecified type of "aquatic bio-fouling."
The ODFW operates two year-round inspection stations: One on Interstate 5 near Ashland, and another on Interstate 84 near Ontario. There are four seasonal stations at other entry points along the state's borders.