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FWP Warden Intercepts Mussel-Fouled Boat

A Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks warden stopped a driver pulling a ski boat after he drove past an aquatic invasive species inspection station near Anaconda last week. The warden noticed some mussels on the boat and had the driver return to the inspection station where many more mussels were detected. A full decontamination was performed at the station and the boat was locked to the trailer.

This is a good reminder that it’s the law that anyone transporting watercraft (motorized and non-motorized) must stop at all open inspection stations they encounter. Watercraft includes paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, rafts and pack rafts. Nonresidents and residents returning home must have their watercraft inspected before launching in Montana. Watercraft must also be drained of all water before transporting.

“Although it might be tempting to drive past an inspection station, boaters need to be aware that it’s up to them to prevent AIS from coming into our state,” said Tom Woolf, FWP’s AIS bureau chief. “An inspection typically takes less than 10 minutes.”

The driver was transporting the boat from Michigan to British Columbia. It was the fourth mussel-fouled watercraft intercepted in Montana this season. Boats with mussels have also been detected at the inspection station near Dillon, where a fifth boat was found to have mussels on Monday, April 1.

Watercraft inspection stations are Montana’s first line of defense to prevent the movement of AIS, which can have devastating impacts on Montana waterways. AIS are plants, animals, or pathogens that are not native to Montana and can cause harm to our environment and economy. “It’s everyone’s responsibility to help stop the spread of AIS to Montana waters,” Woolf said.

Learn more at conservation/aquatic-invasive-species or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at 406-444-2440.

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