GREAT FALLS - Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is urging you to make sure you're rinsing off your boats to prevent aquatic invasive species. By doing this, FWP says it may save you and your water equipment troubles.
Montana FWP says these aquatic invasive species (AIS) include plants, animals, or diseases that don't naturally live in Montana. They end up taking over native species, and start overcrowding and clogging up lakes and rivers making your boating and kayaking trips a burden.
An example of aquatic invasive species is Zebra mussels. They’re devastating to bodies of water because they're unlike "native mussels".
"They attach to things under the water. They could attach to the bottom of your boat or a dam or your docks,” said Liz Lodman, with FWP's Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach & Education.
Montana FWP has been taking action to prevent this problem. They've increased mandatory watercraft inspections for invasive aquatic species before boats head out on the water. If you take a boat across the continental divide they must be inspected.
In Great Falls, the Tiber Reservoir is an area with aquatic invasive species that are currently being monitored.
How to take precaution with aquatic invasive species
Montana FWP says preventing aquatic invasive species is as simple as cleaning your boots or boat off after being out on the water. If you're going fishing out of state, be mindful about where you are.
Places like Lake Erie are notorious for aquatic invasive species. Most aquatic invasive species are transported by boats and their trailers. It's why the state is stepping up its watercraft inspection checkpoints.
"That's where we want to stop those boats check them out so that they're clean, drained, and dried,” said Lodman.
Over the last few years, Montana FWP has been working on preventing aquatic invasive species through monitoring the water. They say it's made a difference.
Since then, they've added additional watercraft inspection stations in eastern Montana near St. Xavier and Broadus.
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