Montana readies invasive mussels battle plan

With more than 2,300 lakes and ponds, 1,500 miles of rivers, and 30,000 miles of brooks and streams, the Adirondack region is particularly vulnerable to the introduction of AIS. Once established, AIS such as zebra mussels can spread rapidly through connecting waterways or by "hitchhiking" on the propellers, trailers, rudders, and motors of recreational boaters' and anglers' vessels.

KALISPELL, Mont. — Officials have opened two watercraft inspection stations as part of the state’s plan to prevent the spread of invasive mussels.

The Daily Inter Lake reports that the Flathead Basin Commission opened the inspection stations on Friday in Pablo and at Clearwater Junction.

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the state will take over operations at the two boat-check sites starting April 15.

State officials have pushed for broader restrictions on boating activity after invasive mussel larvae were detected in the Tiber Reservoir in October and suspected in other parts of the state.

Lawmakers are currently considering a budget proposal from the department that calls for increasing spending on Montana’s mussel-prevention program and doubling the number of boat-check stations.

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