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Montana mussel invasion expected to cost millions - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Montana mussel invasion expected to cost millions

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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.
It's widely believed a full-scale invasion will cost at least hundreds of millions of dollars per year.. (MTN News photo) It's widely believed a full-scale invasion will cost at least hundreds of millions of dollars per year.. (MTN News photo)
The survey shows that one-fifth of Montana's were unaware of invasive species related waterway closures last year. (MTN News photo) The survey shows that one-fifth of Montana's were unaware of invasive species related waterway closures last year. (MTN News photo)
PABLO -

Agencies and industries who may have to deal with invasive mussels getting a foothold in Montana are still trying to assess how expensive the ecological crisis could be. But it's widely believed a full-scale invasion will cost at least hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

The focus so far has been on expanding inspections and imposing restrictions to stop zebra and Quagga mussels from spreading across Montana and into the Columbia Basin. 

But as soon as mussel larva were spotted in north-central Montana's Tiber Reservoir last fall, many leaders across the region started taking another serious look at the economic impacts should the pests infest our crystal clear water. 

While most economic impacts are based on what's happened elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada. The numbers are frightening enough, running into the hundreds of millions of dollars -- even billions across the entire Northwest.

"So the economic impacts are a little bit different depending on where you are. They can get into some of those dams and other waterways and encrust those pipes making it really difficult for those systems to operate, creating a lot of economic impact as those things have to be cleaned," said Glacier National Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley.

But there's also concerns about costs to everything from tourism, to water treatment to real estate. Dennis Bragg goes On Special Assignment with a deeper look into the major costs of invasive species during the Wednesday 10:00 News.

RELATED: It's the season to keep your boats clean in Montana

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