MTPR

Tom Woolf

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

A new group that aims to harmonize Montana’s response to invasive mussels, and prevent the economic and environmental damage they can cause, met for the first time Wednesday in Missoula.

Boat inspections are mandatory at City Beach and Whitefish Lake State Park this season
Nicky Ouellet

As the state ramps up its efforts this year to screen boats for invasive species, some local groups have taken inspections into their own hands.

The City of Whitefish and the Whitefish Lake Institute, for example, have been running two city-funded mandatory check stations since Memorial Day at the only public boat launches on Whitefish Lake. The Whitefish Lake Institute, a local nonprofit that monitors water quality on the lake, also runs a decontamination station.