Montana inspectors have intercepted 13 boats carrying a destructive invasive mussel this season. Larvae from zebra and quagga mussels were first detected in Tiber Reservoir in 2016, but haven't been detected in the state's waters since then.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and partner agencies have checked more than 52,000 watercraft since inspection stations opened this spring.
New stations operated by local conservation districts in Broadus on Highway 212 and St. Xavier on Highway 313 opened in the past few weeks.
The Garfield Conservation District is now managing and operating the check station in Wibaux.
The checks are part of the state’s $6 to $8 million annual effort to prevent invasive zebra and quagga mussels from entering Montana’s lakes and rivers. A full-blown infestation could cost the state more than $200 million annually.
Zebra mussels are making slow but steady progress toward Montana’s Columbia River headwaters, some of the last waterways in the country still free of the bivalves.
New infestations were recently detected in a South Dakota lake along the Missouri River and Lake Ashtabula, North Dakota.