A new program initiated by the 2017 Montana Legislature and recently signed into law by Gov. Steve Bullock is helping fund the fight against aquatic invasive species in Montana.
The Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass was approved as part of Senate Bill 363 and is required for all anglers. The cost is $2 for residents and $15 for nonresidents.
The AIS Prevention Pass will be available at all Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks license providers and online beginning May 19. Anglers who have already purchased licenses will need to go online or to a license provider and purchase the new pass.
Also included in SB 363 was a fee for hydro-electric facilities. The AIS Prevention Pass is anticipated to generate about $3.2 million in revenue per year. The hydro-electric fee will generate about $3.7 million.
The 2017 Legislature provided additional funding for FWP’s aquatic invasive species program after the discovery last fall of aquatic invasive mussel larvae in water samples from Tiber Reservoir. A sample from Canyon Ferry Reservoir also turned up suspect for the mussel larvae. In response, Gov. Steve Bullock declared a natural resources emergency in November and an interagency incident command team was set up to coordinate the response to the detection.
The resulting response plan includes increasing the number of inspection stations around the state, operating decontamination stations at both Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoir, an expanded public education and outreach effort, and doubling the water sampling efforts for mussel larvae around Montana.
To be very clear: The new AIS prevention pass will be required for all anglers, including those who have purchased a license prior to May 19.
Also, because it is a separate program and not a fee increase, the pass can be purchased by non-anglers as well who would want to help contribute to Montana’s fight against aquatic invasive species.
(Report via FWP.MT.GOV; Feature photo via HelenaIR.com)