Beginning Aug. 12, the boat launch at the Willow Creek arm of Tiber Reservoir will be open only to Certified Boaters in the Aquatic Invasive Species program. Also, the decontamination station will be closed for the remainder of the boating season. The action comes because of a shortage of AIS workers at the north central Montana reservoir.
FWP operated a watercraft decontamination station at Willow Creek for much of the summer, allowing all boaters to access this launch area. Boat owners who do not have the Certified Boater decals can still launch at the Tiber Marina or VFW Campground boat ramps. Decontamination stations are also at the marina and campground.
The Certified Boater program is open to Montana residents who live east of the Continental Divide and who boat primarily on Tiber Reservoir. As proof of Certified Boater designation, the watercraft owner receives two decals to place on each side of the back or stern of their boat, and a third decal to place on the boat trailer. Boaters with the current Certified Boater decals can access Willow Creek, North Bootlegger and South Bootlegger boat ramps.
Certified Boaters are expected to do a self-inspection every time they exit the waterbody to make sure their boat is clean, drained and dry. Certified Boaters sign an agreement pledging to go through decontamination before leaving Tiber Reservoir to launch on another waterbody.
Boat owners seeking the Certified Boater designation must complete an online training course at cleandraindrymt.com. The course covers information about the invasive mussel threat; how to appropriately clean, drain and dry watercraft; and why it’s important for everyone to take responsibility in protecting Montana’s waterbodies.
Boat owners unable to access the online Certified Boater training can visit a Fish, Wildlife & Parks office to complete the training in person.