Watercraft inspection stations are opening across the state and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is reminding boaters to be prepared to stop.
A check station to monitor aquatic invasive species opened on Saturday south of Dillon on Interstate 15. The Dillon inspection station will only be open on weekends at first but will run seven days a week beginning in mid-April.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Blackfeet Tribe also opened check stations in March.
The watercraft inspection station south of Dillon on Interstate 15 opens on March 31. The station will be open on weekends until mid-April then it will be open 7 days a week. Opening dates for all inspection stations will vary depending on location, boat traffic and risk of transporting aquatic invasive species. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Blackfeet Tribe also opened watercraft inspection stations in March, in partnership with FWP.
“One of our concerns is snowbirds bringing boats home.” said Thomas Woolf, AIS Bureau Chief at FWP. “A boat that has been in Lake Havasu for the winter will have quagga mussels on it that are smaller than a grain of rice. Boats like this must be inspected to ensure they are not transporting mussels into Montana.”
All watercraft are required to stop when a station is encountered including all motorized boats, canoes, kayaks, rafts, drift boats, personal pontoons and stand-up paddle boards. An inspection is required for all watercraft entering the state prior to launch as well as all watercraft crossing west over the Continental Divide and entering the Flathead Basin. Inspections are quick and easy if the boat is clean, drained and dry.
These heightened efforts at protecting Montana’s waters are in response to the detection of invasive mussel larvae found in water samples from Tiber Reservoir and a suspect sample from Canyon Ferry Reservoir in the fall of 2016.
As in past years, watercraft owners should always practice Clean, Drain and Dry.
- Clean all debris from the watercraft and trailer.
- Pull drain plugs and make sure all compartments, bilges and ballasts are drained.
- Dry out your watercraft, including dry wells, storage areas and compartments.
Follow these simple steps to help protect our waters from aquatic invasive species.
For more information and a map of watercraft inspection stations, go to cleandraindrymt.com.