HELENA – Several watercraft inspection stations begin operation in early March to check boat traffic returning from mussel-positive areas such as Lakes Mead, Havasu, Pleasant and Powell.
Boat owners coming to Montana must have their vessels inspected for aquatic invasive species (AIS) at a Montana watercraft inspection station prior to launch.
The stations near Dillon, Ravalli and Anaconda will open on March 11, according to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP).
FWP works with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for the operation of the Ravalli station on US Highway 93 North.
Inspections will also be available at the FWP Region 1 office in Kalispell in March to help accommodate requirements for Spring Mac Days on Flathead Lake.
FWP reports that crews conducted more than 119,000 inspections and intercepted 53 mussel-fouled boats in 2022.
More than 600 boats were found with aquatic weeds.
Late last year, zebra mussels were detected 70 miles from Montana in Pactola Reservoir near Rapid City, South Dakota.
According to a news release. watercraft inspection efforts are being adjusted to address the threat of zebra mussels moving into Montana from the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Boat owners should ensure their watercraft, trailers and gear are clean, drained and dry before transporting and need to be aware of Montana’s inspection rules.
- All watercraft coming into Montana from out of state must be inspected prior to launching.
- All watercraft traveling west across the Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin must be inspected prior to launching.
- Anyone transporting watercraft must stop at all open watercraft inspection stations they encounter.
- And all boaters are reminded to always clean drain and dry their boat, live wells, anchors, boots and gear when leaving the water.