CSKT issues emergency watercraft rules - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

CSKT issues emergency watercraft rules

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All boats coming into Montana would be inspected, along with all those crossing west over the Continental Divide. All boats coming into Montana would be inspected, along with all those crossing west over the Continental Divide.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council has issued emergency water and trailer closures on the Flathead Reservation waters in response to the recent detection of invasive mussel populations in Montana.

All watercraft must be inspected and cleared for launching into any Flathead Reservation water body by a certified boat inspector effective immediately. All watercraft, trailers, water based personal equipment must be completely clean, drained and dry on all interior and exterior surfaces. Felt soled waders are prohibited and dogs must be dried to prevent movement of mussel larvae in wet fur entering lakes and rivers.

Only hand propelled, non-trailered watercraft -- including kayaks, canoes, rafts and paddleboards -- will be permitted in all tribal water bodies, with the exception of Flathead Lake and the lower Flathead River. The closure includes all privately owned motorized and trailered watercraft.

“Tribal scientists and managers are working with the State of Montana and other water quality experts to understand the potential impacts from this threat, and identify steps the Tribes will take to further protect the waters of the Flathead Reservation,” said Tom McDonald, Division of Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation.

“In November 2016, the CSKT Department of Natural Resources and the MT Fish Wildlife and Parks  reported that invasive mussel larvae had been discovered in the waters of Canyon Ferry and Tiber Reservoir," CSKT Aquatic Biologist Georgia Smies said. "The CSKT water quality program immediately partnered with the scientists at Flathead Lake Biological Station to assess the waters of Flathead Lake.  A total of 130 samples were collected around the perimeter of the lake as well as in open water locations.”

“CSKT developed and finalized a Tribal AIS plan that address response, monitoring, analysis, and containment/control measures if they become necessary,” added Smies,

Violators may be cited for criminal trespass and removed from the area. Penalties may include confiscation of watercraft and suspension and/or revocation of fishing, hunting and recreation licenses along with monetary fines.    

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