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Environment & Science

Second Mussel-Fouled Boat Intercepted In Montana

Watercraft inspections are used to prevent aquatic invasive species, like quagga and zebra mussels, from spreading into Montana's lakes and streams.
Watercraft inspections are used to prevent aquatic invasive species, like quagga and zebra mussels, from spreading into Montana's lakes and streams.

Montana’s second mussel-fouled boat of the year was intercepted Monday at the Dillon watercraft check station.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau said inspectors found the mussels after draining water from a live well, and that a full decontamination could not be completed due to the weather that dipped to five degrees Farenheit with windchill.

Zach Crete, FWP’s aquatic invasive species prevention coordinator, told YPR the boat was locked to the trailer and that an inspector in Great Falls would follow up.

The state’s aquatic invasive species laws require draining all watercraft and equipment, including live wells.

The boat owner was returning to Montana from Lake Mohave in Ariz., a heavily mussel infested waterbody.

Invasive mussels can disrupt natural food chains and cause costly damage to irrigation and hydropower systems.

Anyone transporting watercraft in Montana must stop at all open inspection stations and anyone coming into the state must have their watercraft inspected prior to launch. Learn more at CleanDrainDryMT.com

The first mussel fouled boat of the year was detected at the watercraft inspection station in Anaconda on Mar. 20. The used motorboat was purchased in Wisconsin and had dry, dead zebra mussels attached to the anchor.