Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials said today that aquatic invasive species inspection stations and roving inspection crews are in operation at key border crossing sites, along major highways, and on heavily used water bodies.
By law boaters must stop at AIS watercraft inspection stations for a brief interview and inspection. Already this month, two boats stopped at inspection stations were found to be fouled by zebra mussels, and another contaminated boat was found by an alert private citizen.
Boaters are urged to inspect, clean and dry boats, trailers and gear exposed to the water to ensure they don't carry organisms from one water body to another, whether they plan to travel an inspection route or not.
"At the inspection stations, boats and trailers will be carefully inspected and boaters can learn more about how to identify invasive species and prevent their spread from one water body to the next," said Allison Begley, FWP's AIS coordinator.
The most likely aquatic invasive species threats to Montana waters include quagga and zebra mussels, New Zealand mudsnails, and Eurasian watermilfoil.
Inspection stations and roving crews will be operating throughout the boating season in these locations:
Montana's AIS laws were recently beefed up by the 2013 Legislature in a bill carried by Rep. Mike Cuffe (R-Eureka). One change established a means to create a statewide AIS management area. FWP will develop management area rules over the next few months, Begley said.
For more on aquatic invasive species, go to FWP's invasive species website at fwp.mt.gov and click on Aquatic Invasive Species on the Fishing page.