First boats carrying invasive mussels intercepted this year | 406 Politics


The first boats of the year carrying invasive mussels through Montana were intercepted last weekend.

Three boats carrying invasive zebra or quagga mussels were discovered at a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks inspection station near Anaconda. The boats had been out of the water for some time and the mussels were not viable, the agency said.

One boat was from Michigan heading to Yakima, Washington, another was from Florida heading to the Seattle area, and the third boat was from Ohio heading to British Columbia.

A few inspection stations have opened in the past few weeks and more are expected to open early next month.

All watercraft entering Montana must undergo a pre-launch invasive species inspection. Inspections can be arranged by calling 406-444-2440.

Montana is expected to be designated free of invasive mussels as the state moves to remove Tiber Reservoir from the list of mussel-positive water bodies. Waters infested with invasive mussels have had a myriad of consequences, from negative impacts on fisheries and other aquatic life to significant costs associated with cleaning up and keeping infrastructure clear of molluscs.

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The agency is taking public comment until March 25 to consider removing “the known existence of invasive aquatic mussels” from the agency’s invasive species regulations.

In 2016, mussel larvae were detected during water sampling in Tiber. A suspected positive sample was also detected at the Canyon Ferry Reservoir the same year – Canyon Ferry was delisted two years ago.

Earnest A. Martinez