Montana wrapping up ramped-up AIS inspection ‘season’
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks aquatic invasive species inspection stations will close for the season Oct. 15. Boaters that are still in need of an inspection can receive one at a regional FWP office.
Water temperatures in both Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs will be below the levels to allow invasive mussels to spawn, dramatically reducing the threat of mussel spread.
This year, AIS inspection stations around Montana inspected more than 73,000 watercraft and intercepted 16 invasive mussel-fouled boats. More than 80 citations were issued, mainly for failing to stop at inspection stations.
Although FWP and partner organizations and agencies have operated watercraft inspection around the state for several years, the discovery of mussel larvae in water samples from Tiber Reservoir last fall and a suspect sample from Canyon Ferry Reservoir prompted a significant expansion in Montana’s AIS prevention efforts.
Among other things, this meant a doubling of watercraft inspection stations around the state to 35 and changing statute to expand watercraft inspection requirements. Beginning in 2017, all watercraft coming into Montana from out of state must be inspected prior to launching. The same holds true for all watercraft traveling across the Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin. Watercraft leaving Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs must also now be inspected, unless they are part of the local boater programs. All watercraft must stop when they encounter an inspection station.