MTPR

quagga mussels

The legislatively-formed Upper Columbia Conservation Commission met Wednesday in West Glacier.
Nicky Ouellet / MTPR

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks intercepted 14 boats this summer carrying an invasive mussel that has the potential to topple Montana’s recreation economy.

The Flathead Lake Biological Station held it's 2018 open house on August 3.
Flathead Lake Biological Station

Flathead Lake remains healthy, mussel-free and blue, according to the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station. MTPR's Nicky Ouellet reports from the station’s open house.
 
Station Director Jim Elser says across the board, data indicate Flathead Lake is in good health.

Dead invasive zebra mussels found on a boat passing through an AIS check station.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

Some boats coming into Montana from Lake Powell will be locked to their trailers for a mandatory quarantine period of up to 30 days in response to the threat of invasive mussels.

All boats coming into Montana are already required to be inspected for invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels, which have caused millions of dollars of damage to hydropower dams, irrigation systems and personal property in infested waters in other states.

Dead invasive zebra mussels found on a boat passing through an AIS check station.
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

More than 50,000 watercraft have been inspected at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks aquatic invasive species check stations across the state.

So far this year, 12 boats with invasive mussels have been found during those checks. Most recently three boats with invasive mussels were found at the Anaconda inspection station on July 18.

Boat propeller encrusted with invasive mussels.
National Parks Service (PD)


Montana’s Environmental Quality Council is trying to find a fair way to raise $6.5 million a year to fund the state’s aquatic invasive species program that screens boats for potential costly invaders. 

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