By Kara Valentine; KTVB
TWIN FALLS, Idaho — A fishing ban on a stretch of the Snake River was put into effect Friday, Sept. 22, in response to the detection of quagga mussels in Twin Falls.
“This is more than a local Twin Falls issue because so many people from the Treasure Valley use the Snake River,” a public information officer wrote.
As part of the emergency declaration, Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG), along with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, closed fishing of any kind on the Snake River from Twin Falls Hydroelectric Dam to the bridge crossing the Snake River at Highway 46.
On Monday, Sept. 25 the Idaho State Department of Agriculture said people are not staying off the water.
“Over the weekend, there were numerous challenges with people on boats, paddleboards, and kayaks in the closed area. In fact, law enforcement tells us that powerboats and other watercraft from Boise were on the water because they were unaware of the closures in place,” a public information officer wrote.
The ban is expected to be lifted Friday, Sept. 29, according to IDFG.
This is first time Idaho officials have had to execute the state’s rapid response plan for quagga mussels.
Despite efforts to keep them out, the invasive quagga mussel was found in the Snake River on Sept. 18. The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) confirmed they found multiple samples of the mussel larvae near Centennial Waterfront Park in Twin Falls – prompting several bodies of water to close.
Officials stated that the fishing ban and many of the closures were decidedly issued to contain the spread of quagga mussels and prevent the species from invading surrounding bodies of water where the mussels have not yet been detected.
While the fishing ban is in effect, IDFG encourages anglers to fish at the following alternate locations: Oster Lakes in Hagerman, Freedom Park Pond in Burley and Magic Reservoir in Blaine County.
The quagga mussels found are veligers – the larval form of the mussels. Officials said they had not yet attached to a surface, but they were found free floating in the water.
IDSA said the introduction of quagga mussels poses a huge threat to the state in terms of economics, recreation and water use.
“As they grow and mature, they will attach to any substrate they can,” ISDA Director Chanel Tewalt said. “That includes irrigation pipes, piers, docks – all of the things that we want to keep free and clear from mussels.”
- Ban on fishing of any kind implemented for the Snake River from the Twin Falls Power Plant downstream to Highway 46 bridge. In effect through Sept. 29.
- Centennial Park
- On Sept. 19, it was announced that no watercraft of any type will be allowed on the water between Centennial Park and Shoshone Falls. Access to Centennial Park is closed to all vehicles, according to the Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office.
- Murtaugh Lake
- Implemented Sept. 20, officials with the City of Twin Falls closed Murtaugh Lake boat ramp and docks as a precaution, in an effort to prevent the spread of the invasive mussels. The Twin Falls County Commissioners and Twin Falls Canal Company stated that access to the Murtaugh area will be closed for 30 days. All park, picnic and camping areas remain open to the public and will not be affected.
- Shoshone Falls Park Boat Ramp
- All watercrafts are prohibited, including kayaks, paddle boards, canoes and inflatable craft to help contain the spread of invasive quagga mussels.
- Dierkes Lake Park
- All watercrafts are prohibited a Dierkes Lake as an added measure to prevent the spread of the invasive species.
- Niagara Springs and Twin Falls
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