Montana Public Radio

invasive species

Westslope cutthroat trout.
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

A recent study found a way to identify lakes and other bodies of water in northwest Montana that are at high risk of illegal fish introductions, which can threaten native species. The study will allow state fish managers to improve patrols in high risk areas.

Edit 3/4/20: A previous version of this article stated that chokecherry is an invasive. It is, in fact, a native plant to Montana and the article has been corrected to reflect this. Additionally, the photo displayed with the article was not buckthorn, and this has also been corrected.

In October 2019, a team from Billings attended a national urban forest workshop where they presented on an invasive shrub that has escaped notice in Montana for years.

Spotted knapweed is an invasive species in the western U.S.
PD

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — States need to work together to stop the spread of invasive species, Western governors say.

The Western Governors' Association on Friday launched the Western Invasive Species Council and named representatives from 13 states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Walleye are invasive species in western Montana.
Eric Engbretson, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (PD).

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved an emergency order Thursday requiring anglers in Upper, Middle and Lower Thompson lakes to kill any walleye caught in those bodies of water and turn the fish over to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP).

This comes just a week after FWP discovered two non-native female walleyes in Upper Thompson Lake during a routine fishery survey. The fish are thought to be illegally introduced and can severely alter ecosystems.

An illegally introduced walleye found in Montana's Swan Lake in 2015.
Courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Two nonnative walleyes were detected during a routine fishery survey west of Kalispell last week. The species could prove detrimental for a number of lakes in the area, and fishery managers are still deciding how to respond.

An aquatic invasive species inspection station in Montana.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

A coalition of state, federal, tribal and private organizations dedicated to protecting the Columbia River Watershed from aquatic invasive species (AIS) met in Polson Wednesday. They said building connections between local groups and water managers will be crucial to prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels in Montana.

This sign from Minnesota gives a glimpse into one possible future if invasive mussels become established in Montana.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

If invasive zebra and quagga mussels were to infest lakes in Montana, the state could lose more than a $230 million per year in mitigation costs and lost revenue, according to a report released Thursday from the Montana Invasive Species Council.

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

A summit that could shape the future of invasive species policy in Montana will take place next week in Helena.

Stephanie Hester, coordinator for the Montana Invasive Species Council, says invasive species management in Montana spans the Departments of Agriculture, Livestock, Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and other organizations.

Invasive species decontamination in Montana includes some firefighting aircraft
Nicky Ouellet

Non-native species in Montana have a way of making their presence known.

In June a KULR TV reported this from near the Ft. Belknap reservation:

“Trooper Matt Finley says the driver of the vehicle swerved to avoid hitting a kangaroo,” said Angela Marshall.

Awareness of mussels in Montana, 2017 and 2018.
UM Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research

More Montanans are aware of the threat of invasive species this year compared to last year. That’s according to a new study by the University of Montana.

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