HELENA – As boaters and other water recreationists gear up for the July 4th weekend, they need to follow the rules to prevent aquatic invasive species from affecting Montana’s waters.
Those rules include:
- All boats must stop at all open watercraft inspection stations they encounter. Failure to do so could result in a fine of up to $500.
- Always be sure to clean, drain and dry your boat.
- All watercraft entering Montana are required to be inspected for aquatic invasive species. An inspection is required before launching on Montana waters.
- Non-residents transporting watercraft into Montana must purchase a Vessel AIS Prevention Pass before launching. The fee is $30 for motorized and $10 for nonmotorized watercraft. The pass is valid until Dec. 31.
- Inspection is required for Montana residents before launch IF: the boat is entering the state, crossing west over the Continental Divide or entering the Flathead basin.
So far this year, FWP and its partners have inspected 30,000 watercraft. Of those, 31 were mussel-fouled and 90 were found with aquatic weeds. The most recent detection was on June 28, when mussels were found on the anchor of a boat traveling from Lake Erie to Chelan, Wash. Inspectors decontaminated the boat, locked the boat to the trailer, and officials in Washington were notified so they could follow up when it reaches its destination.
FWP and partner agencies, which include as tribes, counties and conservation district staff, operate more than 25 road-side watercraft inspection stations across the state. To find a watercraft inspection station or to learn more, go to CleanDrainDryMT.com or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.
FWP staff and partners have submitted more than 450 AIS early detection samples this year. Those samples were analyzed by the FWP AIS Early Detection Lab, and no evidence of invasive mussels detected. The only new detection so far this season is one new population of New Zealand mudsnails in the Bozeman area.