With the Missouri River Basin now positive for invasive mussels, the Flathead region is taking proactive steps to strengthen existing prevention efforts. The Flathead Basin Commission, in partnership with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Blackfeet Nation, have teamed up to bolster watercraft inspections and decontamination capacity by bringing “Quagga D” Davis to the Flathead Basin.
“Quagga D” provides the Level II Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Training generally held in Lake Mead, Nevada or at other destinations in the southwest. Caryn Miske, the Executive Director of the Flathead Basin Commission (FBC), stated that the Flathead region stakeholders worked with Quagga D to arrange a for a training in the Flathead given the large number of agency staff seeking WIT II training. “From our perspective, rather than paying for 30 staff to go down to Lake Mead, it made a lot more sense for Quagga D to come to us,” said Miske. The Pacific Marine Fisheries Commission and the 100th Meridian Initiative Partners are underwriting the cost for Quagga D to provide this training in the Flathead.
The WIT II training is a two-day intensive, hand-on training program for quagga and zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species (AIS). The curriculum is designed for individuals currently, or soon to become, active in a watercraft inspection and decontamination program for their respective agencies, organizations or businesses. The training focuses on actual field inspections of various types of vessels, and entails decontamination procedures according to the Uniform Minimum Protocols and Standards for Watercraft Interception Programs for Dreissenid Mussels in the Western United States (UMPS III).
The training includes but is not limited to: (1) triggers for decontamination; (2) types of decontamination and step-by-step decontamination procedures; and (3) working knowledge of boat anatomy, form and function.
Approximately 30 inspectors, wardens and others attended the 2-day training session in Kalispell starting on April 26th. “This is the first time Quagga D has provided WIT II training in Montana, and we are really excited at having the opportunity to train so many staff in one fell swoop,” said Erik Hanson, the AIS consultant for the Flathead AIS workgroup. In addition to FBC, CSKT and Blackfeet staff, inspectors and agency personnel from the City of Whitefish, Glacier National Park, the University of Montana Flathead Lake Biological Station and Missoula County are attending the WIT II training. The training will greatly enhance the ability and capacity of inspectors and wardens to decontaminate fouled boats from the Missouri, as well as from other states with significant mussel populations.
For further information contact Caryn Miske, Executive Director Flathead Basin Commission at 406.240.3453.