Friday, April 27, 2012
Montana's world renowned fisheries are vulnerable to attack by invasive species.
With just three easy steps, anglers and boaters can help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species like plants, mussels and whirling disease.
It is simple: inspect, clean and dry boats and gear every time you move from one water to the next.
Aquatic diseases and invasive species are easily spread from one water body to the other. Anglers, boaters and their equipment are a primary way to transport these pests. Just a single mistake can infest a new area with a very destructive invasive species.
For example, eurasian watermilfoil, a plant with feathery underwater foliage that forms dense mats of vegetation on the water surface, drastically alters a water body's ecology. Milfoil is spreading in Montana. It was first detected in the Clark Fork River near Thompson Falls. It has since been discovered in two lakes in the Flathead Valley, and in the Missouri River system from the Jefferson River downstream. It has been detected near Toston, in Canyon Ferry Reservoir, at a number of locations in Fort Peck Reservoir and in the Dredge Cuts below Fort Peck Dam.
Information on how to inspect fishing and boating gear for invasive species is available on the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website at fwp.mt.gov; click on the Fishing page for the Montana Fishing Guide, then select Aquatic Invasive Species.