Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has a new tool in the fight against invasive mussels -- new pressurized watercraft
The state of Montana has ordered six special trailers to help decontaminate boats that will be coming on and off Tiber and Canyon Ferry reservoirs during the upcoming boating season.
Those two reservoirs are at the center of the fight to keep invasive mussels from spreading to other Montana waterways.
"So here's the deal, people need to be patient this is their waterways this is their recreation areas. If they don't keep the mussels away it is going to impact them negatively on the future,” said Royce Industries CEO Calvin Rasmussen.
Hundreds of boats could be using those reservoirs daily during peak boating season and the new decontamination trailers will help speed up the mandatory decontamination FWP is requiring for many watercraft.
Four of the trailers will be on Tiber Reservoir with two other stationed at the Canyon Ferry Reservoir. The price per trailer is $17,000.
“What people don't do that is probably the biggest risk is the ballast tanks for like ski boats, recreation vehicles, also we need to be cleaning jet skis and things like that,” Rasmussen said.
Water pressure through a hose on the trailers can be set up 3,000 PSI, but the most important factor in killing invasive mussels is water temperature -- 140 degrees is what gets the job done.
The trailers are designed to ensure difficult areas are cleaned and decontaminated -- places like bilge areas, live wells and the carpets on trailers. Rasmussen says the trailers will help, but people also need to do their part and be vigilant about how they clean and care for their watercraft.
"If a mussel is out of water for 30 days they die naturally, so if the boating community will simply clean, drain, and dry their boats they will be able to get out of these stations quickly with no wait at all,” Rasmussen said.