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Montana grants aim to combat aquatic invasive species

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Posted at 8:31 AM, Dec 12, 2022

HELENA - Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) grants through the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) are now available.

The grants can help combat and raise awareness against invasive species in the state.

“Really what we're trying to do at the state level is involve partners at the local level as much as we can to help get the information out in their local communities,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) AIS Bureau Chief Tom Woolf.

With the threat of aquatic invasive species such as the zebra or quagga mussels invading our streams and lakes, the state makes a certain amount of money available for grants. These grants, which can be for up to $50,000 each, can be used by various non-governmental, Montana-based entities.

These organizations in turn use this money towards prevention, early detection, education and outreach, research, and treatment.

Woolf says that some of these invasive species find refuge in the Great Lakes and are then transported over from there. And that in order to stop an infestation, it’s vital to Clean, Drain, and Dry watercraft before moving them to a new body of water.

In addition to impacting native wildlife, invasive species can even damage our economy and infrastructure.

“So, aquatic invasive species can cause significant damage to our environment, to our economy. When we talk about things like zebra mussels, they stick to dams, they plug up water flows. Irrigation, they plug up irrigation systems,” says Woolf.

Grant applications are due by Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023.