Montana boaters face increased inspections this season - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Montana boaters face increased inspections this season

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Folks can be fined for not stopping (photo: FWP) Folks can be fined for not stopping (photo: FWP)

Last fall's discovery of invasive mussels in Montana has led to an escalation in the Treasure State’s war on aquatic invasive species, so boaters can expect things to be very different this season.

“We have been working on a plan to develop containment of both Tiber and Canyon Ferry,” said Eileen Ryce with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. “We also have an increased plan for the prevention of further introductions.”

Aquatic invasive species could cause major problems for Montana's water bodies and related infrastructure, so boaters will see stepped up efforts this year when they head out to the water.

“There will be more inspection stations for watercraft and the hours will be longer for most watercraft inspection stations. Boats moving from Tiber and Canyon Ferry to other waters will be required to be inspected and decontaminated,” Ryce said.

FWP is also looking to expand the aquatic invasive program by primarily hiring seasonal employees to help combat invasive species in Montana.

“The public will probably see not only an increase in watercraft inspection stations,” Ryce said. “but our staff will be doing much more monitoring and early detection around the state.”

FWP has worked to prevent aquatic invasive species for more than a decade, and even with all of this year's additional efforts, boaters and anglers will still play a vital role in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species in Montana.

“We want to prevent the further spread within the state and into the state and the best way to do that is for boaters and all watercraft users to take accountability for their own water craft and it is very simple they just have to clean, drain and dry,” Ryce said.

People with watercraft who do not stop at check stations could face a fine.

RELATED: First Montana watercraft inspection stations open for 2017 boating season

RELATED: FWP looking for seasonal employees

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