This spring and summer remember to inspect, clean and dry your boats, trailers and fishing gear to stop aquatic hitchhikers from taking hold in Montana.
As part of the state's prevention program, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will have boat inspection stations set up around the state. It is mandatory that boaters stop at these check stations.
The "Inspect—Clean—Dry" slogan draws attention to a national problem threatening to take root in the West—aquatic hitchhikers. These life forms are non-native, harmful aquatic plants, animals or microscopic organisms—everything from zebra mussels to whirling disease—that can be transported from water to water by popular recreational activities like fishing and boating.
The cost of invasive species damages in the U.S. amounts to more than $100 billion each year.
"One of Montana's best defense against spreading invasive species while enjoying the outdoors is to inspect, clean, and dry boats, trailers, and fishing gear after each use," said Allison Begley, FWP’s aquatic invasive species coordinator in Helena. "We can control the spread of these invasive plant and animal species if we don't carry them from one water to the next."
Begley urges all boaters and anglers to always remember to:
"If boaters and anglers get into the habit of carrying out this preventative maintenance, we’ll be able to decrease the number of troubling, expensive, unintentional introductions of harmful species in Montana," Begley said.
To learn more, visit FWP's website at fwp.mt.gov. Click "Inspect. Clean. Dry."