MTPR

Tiber Reservoir

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

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Testing of Montana waterways this year turned up no instances of invasive mussels, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks said Wednesday.

Under state policy, the agency will move to lift restrictions placed on Canyon Ferry Reservoir east of Helena after one suspicious water sample in 2016.

Watercraft Inspection Station
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The Montana Legislature last week tweaked the way it raises money to prevent the spread of zebra and quagga mussels in Montana waterways. The budget to do so remained about the same, but who’s paying for it changed a little.

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

A state commission is surveying the public about Montana’s aquatic invasive species program. The survey, conducted by the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission, asks for public feedback about state-run boat inspection sites to evaluate the program’s 2018 season.

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


Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks received nearly $900,000 to combat invasive mussels on Tuesday.

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.

Divers with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Montana FWP prepare to dive at Tiber Dam to look for adult zebra and/or quagga mussels, August 7, 2017.
Beth Saboe - MontanaPBS

An invasive mussel prevention plan is creating conflict between some recreational boaters and resource managers over access to Tiber Reservoir.

Tiber is the only lake in the state that’s tested positive for invasive mussels two years in a row.

Divers with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Montana FWP prepare to dive at Tiber Dam to look for adult zebra and/or quagga mussels, August 7, 2017.
Beth Saboe - MontanaPBS

Some boat launches on Tiber Reservoir will be closed this summer to lessen the likelihood of contaminating other Montana lakes and rivers with invasive mussels.

Boaters will only be able to launch from the Tiber Marina and the VFW Campground, where inspectors will be on hand to check for invasive hitchhikers before and after launch, and decontaminate boats if necessary.

That green and brown gunk is a mix of algae, plankton and bits of genetic material that hold the answer to whether Flathead Lake has mussels in it. One sample comes from 9 meters deep, the other from the surface.
Nicky Ouellet

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Thursday announced it detected additional evidence of invasive mussels in one eastern Montana reservoir last summer. The detection raises a few red flags.

FWP found microscopic invasive baby mussels in Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs for the first time in the fall of 2016. But the state agency and its partners didn’t find any last summer.

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

This is "SubSurface: Resisting Montana’s Underwater Invaders." I’m Nicky Ouellet, and in our first episode I’m taking us to the Midwest, to lakes where people have been fighting invasive zebra and quagga mussels for decades, to hear, see and smell what could become Montana’s mussel-encrusted future if a full-blown infestation happens here. These stories are reporting from the future.

Corin Cates-Carney

Update: This is an extended version of the story we posted Thursday, Oct. 12, the original text is at the bottom of this post.

Along a rocky shoreline at Canyon Ferry Reservoir Thursday, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of a dog sniffing, using its nose to search for invasive mussels threatening to overrun Montana waters.

Hilo, a three year old black lab, isn’t finding any evidence of the adult quagga or zebra mussels he’s been sent to search for along the shoreline.

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