MTPR

Willis Curdy

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.

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.

Hearing room at the Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Anglers, boaters, farmers and conservationists are all backing a new proposal at the state Legislature to spend $6.5 million fighting aquatic invasive species, but they disagree over who should foot the bill. The measure had its first hearing Monday.

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.

Bison being released at Fort Peck Reservation, November 2014.
Courtesy of the Defenders of Wildlife

Tribal members and wildlife groups were among those asking lawmakers today to consider a bill to change how bison can be moved and sold. The bill proposed by Rep. Willis Curdy, a Missoula Democrat, would remove an existing requirement for wild bison be cleared as free from brucellosis before being transferred.

Limits On Drone Use On Thursday's Legislative Agenda

Mar 11, 2015
Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Thursday at the Montana legislature brings a bill that would limit the use of drones. House Bill 586 would ground these unmanned aerial vehicles if flown within about 3 miles of airports, areas of an emergency, or places where planes or helicopters are spraying.

The bill’s sponsor, Willis Curdy of Missoula, says he’s a commercial pilot himself, and has seen planes grounded because of drone use.

“Some operations had to have been terminated because drones have been in the area and aviators have not been able to continue with their mission.”