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This Week in Fish and Wildlife: Tips to keep aquatic invasive species out of Montana waters

Posted at 12:12 PM, Apr 25, 2024

Boats, canoes, waders, and fishing gear are all in contact with water and all are possible sources of aquatic invasive species, or AIS. MTN's Chet Layman takes a look at some simple ways we all can make sure we aren't giving AIS free rides to other locations.

BOZEMAN — They are hard to see but can destroy a water system and infrastructure within a short period of time—aquatic invasive species, animals and plants that aren’t supposed to be there but are sometimes brought in by us without our knowing it.

“Starts right at the water. When you come off, the phrase we always use is clean, drain, dry your gear. And doing that can help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species from one water body to another,” said Morgan Jacobsen, information and education manager for Montana FWP Region 3.

If you use a watercraft—any watercraft—it needs to be inspected every time you see an inspection station. Game wardens recently stopped an out-of-state vehicle when it did not stop at an inspection station near Anaconda. The watercraft was carrying aquatic invasive species.

FWP has made it simple to know when you have to stop at one of those inspection stations.

“Any time you encounter an inspection station on a highway, boaters are required to stop, even if you're carrying—whether it’s a canoe or a paddle board or a drift boat, anything, any type of watercraft, you're required to stop,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen also notes that if you buy a watercraft from out-of-state, it must be inspected before you use it anywhere in Montana.