By angelamontana

Posted: September 1, 2022

Over the Labor Day weekend, it’s important to continue to clean, drain and dry your boat and gear when you recreate on the water to prevent the potential spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS).

So far this year, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks and its partners have inspected more than 84,000 watercraft, 46 of which were mussel-fouled and 300 were found with aquatic weeds.

FWP asks for the public’s help with AIS early detection. Fall is the best time to detect new AIS populations. Low water levels and the end of the growing season is a great time to detect new populations of AIS. If you suspect an AIS population, take a photo, grab a specimen and contact FWP to report it 406-444-2449.

More than 1,500 early-detection samples have been processed this season, and no evidence of mussels has been detected in Montana waters.

As a reminder, 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. Some inspection stations will begin shutting down after Labor Day, while others will operate into October.

To find a watercraft inspection station or to learn more, go to CleanDrainDryMT.com or call the FWP AIS Bureau at 406-444-2440.

In addition to stopping at all watercraft inspection stations, boaters need to follow these rules:

  • Be sure to always clean, drain and dry your boat.
  • 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.
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