December 28, 2016 Voices Of Montana, _Default

Water Samples Positive For Invasive Mussel Larvae In Montana

Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order November 30, 2016 declaring a statewide natural resource emergency for Montana water bodies due to the detection of invasive aquatic mussel larvae.

Joining me on VOM Wednesday were two members of the newly formed “Montana Mussel Response Team” to talk about the dangers of the invasive mussel larvae, They were Matt Wolcott who is the Incident Commander for DNRC and Tom Boos who is the Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for the FW&P.

mussels comparison

The State of Montana’s Mussel Response Team was formed to rapidly assess the extent and severity of the mussel incident impacting Montana’s waterways.  According to Matt, The team is working to develop a coordinated response and long-term strategy in order to mitigate economic and ecological damage.

To accomplish this, the team is collecting data and information in order to make informed decisions, contain and control affected areas, and develop procedures to prevent future contamination risks. Providing the public with accurate and timely information is a priority of the response team.

Both Matt and Tom agreed that there are no water closures planned in the state at this time for the spring or summer, but citizens must be very careful not to spread or introduce these mussels that have already invaded the Great Lakes region and many other states with large bodies of water including Minnesota and Michigan.

The two types that people should be looking for are the Quagga and the Zebra Mussel, Pictured above. However, Only the Larvae has been found in Montana at this time.

Tom told us that all Montanan’s have to wash there boats, trailers, fishing gear and anything else that comes in contact with the water, This includes waiters and equipment. You could be subjected to jail time and a fine if you do not stop at a check station.

Matt Wolcott DNRC

Aquatic invasive species (AIS), including diseases, are easily spread from one water body to the other. Anglers, boaters, construction workers, pond owners, gardeners, seaplane pilots, field workers – virtually anyone who works or plays in or around water can unknowingly transport these pests on their boats and equipment or allow them to spread via improper management practices. It takes only one mistake to potentially infest a new water body. To protect Montana’s waters and native aquatic species, please follow these rules and guidelines:

Here are some guidelines, suggestions, procedures and rules that both Matt and Tom pointed out.

Boaters, Anglers, Paddlers, and Seaplane Pilots

CLEAN.  Completely remove all mud, water, and vegetation before leaving the access area.

  • Inspect your boat, trailer, and all gear. Pay attention to crevices and hidden areas.
  • Remove all vegetation (by hand or sprayer).
  • Remove all mud (use a pressurized power sprayer, found at most do-it-yourself car washes).  The hot water kills organisms and the pressure removes mud and vegetation. No need to use chemicals or soap.
  • Dispose of debris in trash or on dry land away from water or ramp.

DRAIN.  Drain all water from watercraft and equipment.

  • Drain or remove water from boat, bilge, live well, engine, internal compartments, and bait buckets by removing drain plugs before leaving the access area.

DRY.  Aquatic invaders can survive only in water and wet areas.

  • Dry your watercraft and fishing equipment thoroughly; this will kill most invasive species.  The longer you keep your watercraft, trailer, waders, and other equipment outside in the hot sun between fishing trips, the better.
Key areas to Clean. Drain. Dry. on any watercraft:


Don’t Release Live Animals

Voices of Montana will keep you updated on this story as we get into 2017. With Montana’s economy so dependent on tourism and the outdoors this is a real serious problem that everyone needs to help with!

According to Matt and Tom, We must remind our friends and neighbors to stop at all check stations if they are not aware of the law, They are set up to prevent this costly invasion and if you fail to stop, You could be receiving a large ticket.