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The state of Idaho maintains a total of 18 stations that inspect boats to protect the state’s waterways from aquatic invasive species (including zebra and quagga mussels specifically). This study aimed to estimate the costs and benefits of extending inspection station hours of operation from daylight hours only to 24-hours. This was achieved by conducting a thorough analysis of cost and benefit data from the 24-hour pilot operation of the Cotterell station and administering an attitudinal survey of station managers.

While results from the quantitative cost/benefit analysis are not straightforward, they are highly informative. Overall, examination of inspections during the 24-hour operation period of July 21, 2017 – Oct 1, 2017 shows that greater output measures are produced during daytime hours than during nighttime hours. Still, it is noted that there are occasions when the volume of night inspections becomes substantial. When the daylight-hour operation period (June 1 , 2017– July 20, 2017) and the 24-hour operation period are compared, the former is found to be higher than the latter in standardized inspection measures, while the two periods are virtually indistinguishable in per-hour costs.

Among surveyed watercraft inspection station managers, most reported that their employees would be uncomfortable operating their station during nighttime hours, especially those whose stations had no experience with non-daylight hour operations. Several managers highlighted limiting factors such as the remote location of their station, limited cell phone service coverage, a lack of electricity and the need for law enforcement personnel to be present. That said, most managers expressed positive feedback over the support they receive from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture for their station.


This report was prepared by the Idaho Policy Institute at Boise State University and commissioned by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.