According to a recent New Release by the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Agency, boaters heading to Canyon Ferry Reservoir this weekend will find two open ramps with decontamination stations.
With ice still covering some of the reservoir, the boat ramp at the Silos on the southwestern part of the reservoir, and the Shannon Boat Ramp on the north end, will be open for use with decontamination stations set up on site. All other public boat ramps will be closed for the weekend. Decontamination simply cleans the boat by spraying the exterior and flushing the interior compartments with pressurized hot (120-140°F) water to remove and kill any AIS that may be on the watercraft.
The limited access at Canyon Ferry Reservoir is part of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ response to a water sample from last fall that was found to be suspect for the presence of aquatic invasive mussel larvae. Water samples from Tiber were found to be positive for the invasive mussel larvae.
On Wednesday, the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved rules requiring boaters on Canyon Ferry and Tiber reservoirs to launch and exit at designated boat ramps, unless they are officially certified as local boaters by FWP.
The local boater program will allow watercraft owners to complete educational training on aquatic invasive species and sign an agreement with FWP pledging to only use the boat at either Tiber or Canyon Ferry reservoir.
Local boaters would not be required to decontaminate their boat each time they leave Tiber or Canyon Ferry but they still must stop at inspection stations where they will be expedited through after a brief interview.
Should a certified local boater want to use the watercraft at another waterbody, as part of the pledge, the boat owner would be required to get the watercraft decontaminated with hot water.
Local boater training and certification will be available online beginning in mid-April. Prospective local boaters can also get certified by attending one of the Joint Mussel Response Team’s open houses that will focus on the effort to contain, detect and prevent the spread of invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species.
The first open house is set Monday, March 27 at Montana WILD in Helena from 6-9 p.m. A Joint Mussel Response Team presentation will begin at 7 p.m. Local boaters can be certified after the presentation. Space is limited to about 80 people at Montana WILD so preregistering for the event is required. Call 406-444-2535 to register.
A similar open house will be held in Townsend on April 4 the Broadwater School and Community Library from 6-9 p.m. Additional open-houses events will be announced when dates and locations are secured.
Containing the risk of spreading mussels from the reservoirs to other areas is a key component of the Joint Mussel Response Team’s implementation plan. When boaters transport water in their boats they can spread destructive mussel that are so small at the larvae stage they can only be seen under a microscope.
To combat the spread of all aquatic invasive species, Montana officials urge boaters and anglers to Clean, Drain, Dry their watercraft, trailers and equipment when they leave the water as a guarantee that they’re not spreading invasive mussels. A cleaned, drained and dry boat also will make for a quick inspection.
The content for this article was used from a news release originally posted by the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Agency at: http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/recreation/nr_0383.html