Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will hold a series of meetings in Eastern Montana this month to discuss the spread of invasive water weeds.
The department is proposing an administrative ban on commercial bait-fish seining in several areas of the state that are contaminated with Eurasian watermilfoil. Those areas are:
- Fort Peck Reservoir
- Fort Peck Dredge Cut Ponds
- Jefferson River
- The lower Missouri River from Fort Peck Dam to the North Dakota border
- The upper Missouri River from its origin near Three Forks to Canyon Ferry Reservoir
The department’s proposal would prohibit commercial seining of bait fish to prevent the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil to other non-contaminated water in the state.
Eurasian watermilfoil is an invasive water weed that can clog up lakes, rivers and irrigation equipment. It can choke out native plants and animals, including fish, and create a sinewy mass that prevents any swimming or boating.
A tiny piece of the weed can start a new infestation in uncontaminated water. Pieces of the weed can cling to seine nets or boats. To prevent the spread, FWP encourages all boaters to inspect, clean and dry their boats, waders, tackle and equipment before moving them between water bodies.
Public hearings to gather comments on the proposed commercial seining ban are set for 6 p.m. on:
- Thursday, May 24 at FWP’s offices in Helena and Great Falls
- Tuesday, May 29 at FWP’s field office in Lewistown
- Wednesday, May 30 at the Fort Peck Fish Hatchery
- Thursday, May 31 at FWP’s offices in Billings and Miles City
The full text of the proposed administrative rule change is on the Internet at http://fwp.mt.gov/fwpDoc.html?id=55644.