HELENA – Montana’s aquatic invasive species program is preparing for a busy season.
Watercraft inspectors have intercepted 21 mussel-fouled boats so far; the latest boat was stopped at the Broadus watercraft inspection station on Wednesday, May 19. Inspectors found dry and dead mussels on a commercially hauled outboard motorboat from Ohio that was destined for Washington state.
On May 18, an outboard motorboat from Lake Michigan was intercepted at the Wibaux inspection station. The boat owner had recently purchased the used boat and intended to launch in Washington state the next day.
Inspectors conducted a hot water decontamination on each boat before releasing them and notifying officials in Idaho and Washington.
When boat owners follow the practice of “Clean-Drain-Dry” they can prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Invasive zebra and quagga mussels can be transported on boats in the adult or larvae life stage. Adult mussels have hairs called byssall threads that allow them to attach to structures under water, such as boat hulls and motors. Adult mussels can survive out of water for 30 days. Microscopic mussel larvae can float unseen in water found in bilges, ballast tanks and live wells.
Boaters must stop at all watercraft inspections stations they encounter. All watercraft (motorized and non-motorized) coming into Montana from out of state must be inspected. This includes Montana residents returning from a fishing or boating excursion out of state. Failure to stop at inspection stations could result in a fine of up to $500.
Learn more at CleanDrainDryMT.com or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.