Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Environment & Science

21 Boats With Aquatic Invasive Mussels Found By FWP Inspectors

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

Inspectors are finding a rash of boats carrying invasive species into Montana, though the boating season’s busiest stretch is yet to come.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has intercepted 21 boats with invasive zebra or quagga mussels this season, compared to eight at this time last year.

“So we’re way above and beyond what we saw last season at this time,” said Tom Woolf, Aquatic Invasive Species Program Director.

Woolf says there’s also been an increase in overall boat traffic, with most infested ones coming from the Great Lakes and midwest regions.

Woolf reminds boaters to clean, drain and dry their craft after use to avoid spreading invasive mussels.

The small shellfish can disrupt the food chain and ruin boat motors and other underwater infrastructure.

All motorized and nonmotorized watercraft coming into the state must be inspected. Residents who don’t stop at inspection stations can be fined up to $500.