MTPR

zebra mussels

Aaron Bolton

Flathead Lake continues to defy national trends as a healthy blue body of water that’s free of invasive mussels. That’s according to the director of the University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station, who gave his annual state of the lake address Friday. 

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.

A boat at the Flathead Lake Biological Station.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The Flathead Lake Biological Station added a new monitoring site in Polson Bay last month that could help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and generate valuable information about the ecosystem.

Jim Elser, director of the Station, says near Polson the lake is shallower and warmer than at the other monitoring station, and sees different kinds of use.

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.

A boat at the Flathead Lake Biological Station.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The University of Montana’s Flathead Lake Biological Station is asking businesses in the area to help fund its work.

Proceeds from the drive that starts Monday will benefit research and monitoring on Flathead, Whitefish, and Swan lakes, and the surrounding watersheds.

Watercraft inspections are used to prevent aquatic invasive species, like quagga and zebra mussels, from spreading into Montana's lakes and streams.
Courtesy Montana FWP

State and tribal agencies are opening up mandatory watercraft inspection stations this week. They’re preparing for the influx of spring and summer boaters from near and far. Watercraft inspections are used to prevent aquatic invasive species, like quagga and zebra mussels, from spreading into Montana's lakes and streams.

House Bill 608 would establish a $50 fee for boats with ballasts or bladders to undergo a mandatory decontamination each time they enter the state or cross the Continental Divide into the Columbia River basin.
(PD)

State legislators are considering requiring mandatory decontamination for wakeboarding boats, and having boat owners pay for the procedure.

House Bill 608 would establish a $50 fee for boats with ballasts or bladders to undergo a mandatory decontamination each time they enter the state or cross the Continental Divide into the Columbia River basin.

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.

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.

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