stickerYes the Idaho Invasive Species Fund is now in effect. However misguided, misapplied, misrepresented, the zebra mussel sticker is now required equipment on almost all whitewater craft. Well almost.

The Idaho Invasive Species Fund (IISF) was designed to raise monies to fund the costs associated with the potential introduction of invasive aquatic species in particular, the Zebra and Quagga mussel and the Red Herring into Idaho. The Quagga and Zebra species of mussels are closely related and appear very similar therefore both are commonly referred to as Zebra mussels. It is too late to stop the Red Herring. It is firmly established in Idaho , but its spread to the waterways may be preventable.

Kayakers will now pay to protect the state from zebra mussels. The Big Question on everyone's mind is why are inflatable boats under 10 feet exempt, but kayaks under 10 feet are taxed? The untaxed fleet includes float tubes, fishing cats, kick boats and more.

red herringIs there evidence that zebra mussels won't attach themselves to inflatables? No. On the contrary they love inflatables. Inflatables frequent the infested waters of other states.  Inflatables are full of zippers and bladders that make nice little hiding places for zebra mussels. Kayaks on the other hand are hard plastic and pretty much dry out in less than five minutes in a good wind on top of a car. Kayaks in general don't frequent zebra mussel infested waters.

The new tax  requires that all motorized and non-motorized waterborne craft in Idaho, except inflatables under 10 feet in length, purchase a sticker before launching.

Sailboards: $5
Kayaks: $5
Rafts: $5
With a motor: $10

this says it allIt seems the IISF printed up the stickers and then ran out of money. Or the legislature found something else to do with the ear tagged money and left the IISF with a bunch of stickers, a propaganda campaign on the mass media and, in the end, no wash stations, no checkpoints, no enforcement.

So do you need a sticker? Or, from another perspective, Do you speed? Most people speed a bit when there are no cops around, right? Well, in the haste to pass the Zebra Mussel tax Otter and Anderson forgot to implement a means of enforcement. Currently, there is no enforcement. The USFS is not enforcing the sticker law. Neither are the county sherrifs we contacted. So while we don't encourage speeding at any time. We remind you that the choice is yours. To speed or not.

Kayak Idaho is completely opposed to Zebra Mussels. We hate 'em by golly. Otter and Anderson should have stuck to the political path of education first,  legislation second and finally enforcement. That's how honest politicians do it. So until there is active enforcement, or at least a plan, perhaps you should follow the lead of your leaders.For those of you without a memory, Gov. Otter and the bill's sponsor Eric Anderson are the same pair that introduced a similiar bill last year (the NMBR) attempting to tax kayaks for using state facilities -- boat ramps, search and rescue and the like. To show how ill-prepared they were, Otter made a point at a public meeting last year that kayakers were not paying their fair share to use the boat ramps using  Hells Canyon Dam as an example. Whoops Butch, that boat ramp is in Oregon. Not to mention that it also belongs to the Feds. And when the opposition showed Otter and Anderson had little chance of passing the tax as it was branded, they dressed it up to look like Zebra.