Two kayaks contaminated with an invasive species were stopped before they launched in the Deschutes River, where they could have caused an environmental disaster.
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife technicians intercepted and decontaminated two inflatable kayaks at the Ontario Watercraft Inspection station last Saturday.
The kayaks were just in Utah’s Lake Powell and their next planned launch site was the Deschutes River here in central Oregon. Fortunately, the owner, an individual from Corvallis, stopped at a watercraft inspection site on Interstate 84 near Ontario.
According to Martyne Ressmen, with ODFW, during the inspection they found a lot of sand and shell debris…including invasive quagga mussel shell debris.
Had the inflatable kayaks launched without being decontaminated, Fish & Wildlife officials say mussel tissue from the broken shells would have been shed in the water and could have resulted in the presence of quagga mussels in the Deschutes River.
“We do not want them in Oregon,” said Ressmen. “We do not have them in Oregon. If they did come to Oregon, they would most likely come on trailered watercraft or some other form of watercraft. They impact the food web from the bottom up.”
ODFW is urging people to inspect your motorboat, kayaks, canoes, drift boats, stand up paddle boards, even wind surfing boards for invasive hitch-hikers after a day on the water. All types of boats can transport destructive quagga and zebra mussels, New Zealand mud snails and invasive aquatic plants.
Anyone launching watercraft in Oregon waters, resident or from out of state, must purchase also an invasive species prevention permit. Permits for non-motorized craft including canoes, kayaks and drift boats, cost $7.
Oregon registered motorboat owners do not need to buy a permit since the fee is automatically included in boat registration.
The money raised through purchase of permits fund watercraft inspection stations throughout the state.