Mandatory Boat Wash at Centennial Park: Avoid Hefty Fines and Help Prevent Invasive Species Spread

The Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office (TFCSO) is urging all watercraft users to adhere to the mandatory vessel wash requirements at Centennial Park, emphasizing the critical role this measure plays in preventing the spread of the invasive Quagga mussel.

Background on Quagga Mussel Infestation

Last summer, the Snake River in Twin Falls experienced an outbreak of Quagga mussels, a highly invasive species known for its rapid reproduction and detrimental impact on aquatic ecosystems. Despite extensive efforts to control the spread, the situation has necessitated stricter regulations for all watercraft at Centennial Park.

Twin Falls Country Sheriff's Office
Twin Falls Country Sheriff's Office

Wash Station Requirements

All watercraft—including motorized vessels, kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, and rafts—must be washed both before launching and upon exiting the water. This mandatory wash service, provided free of charge by the Idaho Department of Agriculture, is crucial for preventing the transfer of Quagga mussels to other water bodies in Idaho.
The TFCSO emphasizes that compliance with these regulations is essential to protect the state's water resources. As the Sheriff's office noted in a recent social media post:

"If you're bringing any motorized vessel, kayak, paddleboard, canoe, raft, or any other watercraft to the Snake River at Centennial Park, your vessel must be washed both before launching and before leaving the park. This service is provided free of charge by the Idaho Department of Agriculture."

Planning Ahead to Avoid Penalties

While the mandatory washes may cause delays, with wait times of up to an hour, the TFCSO advises boaters to plan ahead to avoid inconvenience and potential penalties. Alternatives such as visiting other nearby water bodies in Twin Falls County—including Twin Falls Dam, Dierkes Lake, Murtaugh Lake, and 1000 Springs—can help alleviate congestion at the wash stations.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Bypassing the wash station can result in significant penalties. Violations start with a $300 misdemeanor fine, but under the Idaho Invasive Species Act of 2008, more severe infractions can lead to fines of up to $3,000, imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both.

Community Cooperation and Education

The ultimate goal of these regulations is to educate the community and ensure compliance to avoid enforcement measures. The TFCSO is committed to working with the public to keep Idaho’s waters safe and clean. You can learn more by reading this post on the TFCSO Facebook Page. 

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