Perhaps it's because we are seeing more watercraft enter Montana this spring so the odds increase.

Whatever the case, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks tells us that Montana’s watercraft inspectors have now intercepted six mussel-fouled boats. That's an average of nearly two per per week since the inspection stations began opening up last month. It appears a busy season is on the horizon.

The latest boat was stopped at the Anaconda watercraft inspection station. Inspectors found dry and dead mussels on a used pontoon boat that had been purchased in Minnesota and was destined for the state of Washington. Inspectors conducted a hot water decontamination before releasing the boat and notifying officials in Idaho and Washington.

In the last two weeks mussels have also been found on watercraft returning to Montana from the southwest, including Lake Mohave, Lake Powell and Lake Havasu. These bodies of water are known to be infested with invasive mussels. It's amazing how in just one day,   mussels can enter a live-well or attach to a boat’s hull or transom. That is according to an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Bureau Chief.

Watercraft inspection stations are Montana’s first line of defense to prevent the movement of aquatic invasive species, which can have devastating impacts on Montana waterways. Just a friendly reminder that 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.

 

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