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Invasive Mussel Found On Kayak Headed For Glacier National Park

A scubadiver holds a rock covered in quagga mussels on Lake Michigan in 2017.
Nicky Ouellet
Yellowstone Public Radio
A scubadiver holds a rock covered in quagga mussels on Lake Michigan in 2017.

Montana watercraft inspectors Sunday stopped a kayak carrying an invasive mussel from Michigan to Glacier National Park. It was the 27 mussel fouled vessel intercepted this season, compared to a total of 16 last year.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said inspectors at the Nashua check-station found a dead zebra mussel attached to the hull of the vacationers’ kayak, which had last been used in a known mussel infested lake in Michigan.

FWP said the inspectors thoroughly decontaminated the kayak before sending the vacationers on their way.

So far this season, FWP and its partners have inspected over 115,000 vessels, already surpassing last year’s total. Two check stations, Clearwater Junction near Seeley Lake and Ravalli south of Flathead Lake, have accounted for about 40 percent of the total boat checks this year.

Aquatic invasive species can cause costly damage to irrigation systems, dams and drinking water systems, as well as significantly alter the aquatic environment native wildlife depend on.

Watercraft owners must stop at all open inspection stations. People who have used their motorized and non-motorized boats out of state are required to have their vessels inspected prior to launching.