AQUATIC NUISANCE

Montana Aquatic Invasive Species Update: May 2024

Friends and Colleagues,

Watercraft inspection stations are now open for the season and AIS survey is ramping up. As we prepare for boating season remember to Clean Drain and Dry your boat every time you leave the water and to stop at all open watercraft inspection stations.

Below is a brief update on what is going on in Montana and throughout the region:

Watercraft Inspection:   

  • All watercraft inspection stations are now open for the season. Refer to the FWP AIS website more information on  inspection station locations and hours of operation.
  • Over 5,000 watercraft have been inspected so far this season with 13 mussel fouled vessels intercepted to date.  See table below for more details:

  • FWP is rolling out the BIG Project in 2024.  This is the Boat Information Gathering (BIG) project where inspectors interview boaters at high priority boat ramps to ensure they meet inspection-before-launch requirements. Inspectors interview out-of-area boaters, identify if they meet inspection-before-launch requirements, conduct an inspection if needed and identify the boater’s rout of travel to help identify gaps in Montana’s inspection network.  This year’s BIG Projects include:
    • Fort Peck in partnership with the Garfield Conservation District.
      • The District conducted this project last year at Fort Peck and interviewed over 400 out-of-state boaters.  Only 2% of those boaters did not have the required inspection.
    • Hell Creek on Fort Peck in partnership with the Little Shell of the Chippewa Tribe. Staff will verify inspection-before-launch at the Hell Creek boat launches.
    • Flathead Lake in partnership with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT).  Boat ramps on the southern half of the lake will be visited during periods of high use to verify inspection-before-launch requirements are met.
    • Flathead Lake in partnership with the Flathead Conservation District.  Boat ramps on the northern half of the lake will be visited during periods of high use to verify inspection-before-launch requirements are met.
    • Hebgen Lake:  In response to the recent detection of mussels in Idaho, FWP staff will periodically interview boaters launching on Hebgen Lake to gage inspection-before-launch compliance.
  • The watercraft inspection dashboard is now up and running and will be updated weekly.
    • Note: Data application issues have led to a delay in uploading data and Dashboard numbers may not capture total inspections at this point.
  • More information on watercraft inspection station operations can be found here:  Watercraft Inspection Info

Early Detection:

  • Annual training for FWP AIS early detection training staff will occur the weeks of May 13th and May 20th.  State-wide AIS sampling begins in mid-May.
    • If you are interested in hosting or attending an AIS survey training this season contact Craig McLane:  CMcLane@mt.gov
  • The AIS Early Detection Lab Team is back up and running processing mussel veliger microscopy samples for Montana and other western states.
  • An angler in Bozeman reported catching a dojo loach (see attached photo) in small pond in Bozeman. Follow-up survey will be conducted in the pond in the coming weeks.

AIS News:

Upcoming AIS Meetings:

  Thank you all for your work protecting our waters from aquatic invasive species.

Thomas Woolf

Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau Chief

Fisheries Division

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Update January 2024

Friends and Colleagues,

Most watercraft inspection stations are now open for the season and AIS survey is ramping up. As we prepare for boating season remember to Clean Drain and Dry your boat every time you leave the water and to stop at all open watercraft inspection stations.

Here is a little more information on what is going on in Montana and throughout the region:

Watercraft Inspection:   

  • After this weekend, most watercraft inspection stations will be open in the state: Watercraft Inspection Information
  • Watercraft inspection partners for 2024 include: The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, The Blackfeet Nation, Little Shell Tribe of the Chippewa, Missoula County, the City of Whitefish, Glacier National Park, Swan Lakers and the Lincoln, Flathead, Beaverhead, Big Horn, McCone, Garfield and Powder River Conservation Districts.

  • Over 1,800 watercraft have been inspected so far this season with 7 mussel fouled vessels intercepted to date.  More information on mussel fouled vessels this season in the table below:

Mussel Fouled Vessel Number Date Station Boat Description Origin Location Origin State Destination State
1 3/10/2024 Anaconda Pontoon Crystal Lake, MN ND Ephrata WA
2 3/16/2024 Anaconda Outboard Unknown MI Colville WA
3 3/20/2024 Dillon Outboard Lake Mead AZ Bozeman MT
4 3/28/2024 Anaconda Ski Boat Cass Lake MI Kelowna BC
5 4/2/2024 Dillon Outboard Lake Havasu AZ Missoula MT
6 4/7/2004 Anaconda Outboard Unknown TX Seattle WA
7 4/11/2024 Dillon I/O Lake Havasu AZ Lethbridge AZ

Early Detection:

  • The AIS Early Detection Labratory is geared up and ready for another busy season of sample analysis.
  • AIS early detection seasonal staff training will occur in May.  Following the training, state-wide AIS early detection survey state-wide for all major waters in the state.

  • Partners involved with early detection survey and sampling include:  The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, The Blackfeet Nation, Missoula County, The Central and Eastern Montana Invasive Species Team (CEMIST), The Flathead Biologicals Station, the Whitefish Lake Institute, Clearwater Resource Council, Yaak Valley Forest Council, Glacier National Park, US Bureau of Reclamation, US Army Corps of Engineers, Avista Corp and Conservation Districts state-wide.
  • New AIS detections so far this season include:

  • New Zealand mudsnails in Silver Bow Creek near Butte:   DEQ contractors sampling benthic invertebrate identified New Zealand mudsnails (NZMS) in a new location in Silver Bow Creek near Butte. This population is approximately 25 miles upstream of a NZMS population that was identified last year near Warm Springs.  FWP staff will conduct further surveys in the area in the coming weeks to determine snail distribution and density in the area.

  • Mystery snails detected at Finley Point in Flathead Lake:  Mystery snails are an aquarium snail that are found in many waters in the West, but until this point, have not been found in Montana waters.  Mystery Snail Info.  Two snail shells were found in this area over the last two years. Follow up survey in April verified live snails in the area.

AIS News:

  • Chef Gordon Ramsey catches and cooks invasive crayfish in Great Britan

Upcoming AIS Meetings:

  Thank you

Thomas Woolf

Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau Chief

Fisheries Division

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

2023 AIS Summary

Friends and colleagues,

Montana is gearing up for another busy season addressing the threat of aquatic invasive species.  2024 brings new threats with quagga mussels detected in Idaho and zebra mussels moving up the Missouri River into Lake Oahe. Please contact us if you would like to become more involved in AIS prevention, early detection or outreach this season. 

New in 2024:

  • FWP is contracting with the Flathead Conservation District to help educate boaters on Clean Drain Dry and ensure watercraft are inspected before launching on Flathead Lake.
  • FWP is contracting with Missoula County and the Flathead Biological station to expand AIS early detection surveillance on Flathead Lake and other high risk waterbodies.
  • Extended watercraft inspection hours and season are planned at high risk locations.
  • Expanded partner and public involvement is planned for AIS early detection survey through trainings and workshops state-wide.

Watercraft Inspection:

  • Watercraft inspection stations are scheduled to begin operation on March 9th. See attachment for more information on anticipated watercraft inspection opening dates.
  • FWP is hiring watercraft inspectors:   Watercraft InspectorWatercraft Inspector Site Lead

  • Watercraft inspection locations can be found Here.
  • The 2023 Watercraft Inspection End of Year Report is now complete.  It is currently undergoing review and will be posted on the website in the coming weeks. Information from the report is included in the attachment.
    • 130,603 watercraft were inspected in Montana during the 2023 season.
    • 53 mussel fouled vessels were intercepted.  661 were intercepted with aquatic weeds.
    • 41,000 high risk boats were inspected.
  • Partners continue to play an integral role in AIS prevention effort in the state. Partners conduct over 70% of the watercraft inspections in Montana.
  • If you are interested in attending a watercraft inspection training, contact Zach Crete at  ZCrete@mt.gov

Early Detection Survey:

  • The 2023 Early Detection End of Year Report is now complete. It is currently undergoing review and will be posted on the website in the coming weeks. Information from the report is included in the attachment.
  • All Mussel veliger early detection microscopy samples from 2023 have been analyzed by the FWP AIS Early Detection Laboratory.
    • 3,143 AIS early detection microscopy samples from Montana waters were analyzed this season.
    • 471 samples from other Missouri River basin states were analyzed.
    • 400 Montana environmental DNA (eDNA) samples were analyzed for the presence of invasive mussels.
    • No evidence of invasive mussels was detected in 2023 samples from Montana waters.
  • New AIS detections in 2023 included:
    • New Zealand mudsnails in Silver Bow Creek (Warm Springs) and the Roe River (Great Falls).
    • Mud Bithynia snail in Blanchard Lake (Whitefish)
    • Curlyleaf pondweed in Horte Res (Ronan), The Lakes subdivision pond (Bozeman) and Missoula Kids Pond (Missoula).
  • No Eurasian watermilfoil was detected in eradication projects at Beaver Lake (Whitefish) and Nilan Reservoir (Augusta).  Follow up surveys will be conducted this season.
  • No invasive corbicula clams were detected in Lake Elmo (Billings) following eradication treatment in 2022.  Follow up surveys will continue this season.
  • If you are interested in attending an AIS early detection survey training, please contact Craig McLane CMcLane@mt.gov

Outreach and Education:

  • FWP continues a nation-wide marketing campaign to ensure boats are clean, drained, dry and inspected before launching in Montana waters.
  • We are fortunate to have AmeriCorps member Sophiane Nacer returning for a second year to support AIS education and outreach state-wide. Keep an eye out for new AIS social media posts on the FWP Facebook page.
  • AIS in Commerce Webinar:  February 20, 11:00.  More info HereRegister Here

Events:

  • Western Montana Conservation Commission Meeting:  February 7-8th , Polson.  WMCC
  • Western AIS Short Course:  March 5-6th, Missoula. Register Here
  • Columbia River Basin Team Meeting:  June 4-5th, Missoula.  Location TBA.  Columbia Basin Team Info
  • Western Regional Panel for Aquatic Invasive Species:  October 23-24th, Grand Junction, CO. More info TBA.  WRP Info
  • North American Invasive Species Management Association: September 30 – October 3rd, Missoula. More NAISMA Info

AIS News:

Thomas Woolf | Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau Chief

Fisheries Division

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Office: (406) 444-1230 | Cell: (406) 438-5905

Zebra Mussels are discovered in Lake Oahe this past week. – 1/4/2024

https://www.keloland.com/news/capitol-news-bureau/zebra-mussels-in-lake-oahe/

This doesn’t come as a complete surprise as the Aquatic Invasion Species (AIS) has been detected in Lake Pactola and is considered infested with Zebra Mussels.  Walleyes Unlimited of Montana is working with the Montana FWP and other organizations to combat the introduction of these into any Montana waters.  We take a strong stance of promoting Clean, Drain, Dry and we all need to be vigilant in stressing this with any and all watercraft coming in from other area and now in particular the Dakotas.  

You will be seeing and hearing a strong campaign in the very near future. 

Thanks for all of your efforts and working together will be essential to keep these extremely damaging things out of our waters. 

2020-2022

For information on How to clean your boat, Locations of Watercraft Inspections and how to become a “Certified Boater” and other news, click on the following FWP link https://cleandraindry.mt.gov/Aquatic-Invasive-Species

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials said that aquatic invasive species inspection stations and roving inspection crews are in operation at key border crossing sites, along major highways, and on heavily used water bodies.

The most likely aquatic invasive species threats to Montana waters include quagga and zebra mussels, New Zealand mudsnails, and Eurasian watermilfoil.

Plan ahead and get your watercraft inspected prior to launching if:

  • You are coming into Montana from out-of-state.
  • You are traveling west over the Continental Divide into western Montana (the Columbia River Basin).
  • You are coming off Tiber or Canyon Ferry Reservoirs.
    • Certified boaters must still follow the terms of their contract; they are required to get an inspection if they are travelling to another waterbody.
    • Certified boater ramps will remain open ONLY to certified boaters.
  • You are launching anywhere within the Flathead Basin and your watercraft last launched on waters outside of the Flathead Basin.

Station Name Start Date Close Date Hours of Operation
Anaconda 4/6/19 9/29/19 6:30AM – 8:30PM
Apgar (Lake McDonald) 5/11/19 10/31/19 8:00AM – 4:00PM
Babb TBD TBD TBD
Bighorn Canyon NRA TBD TBD TBD
Birch Creek TBD TBD TBD
Browning 4/3/19 TBD 7:30AM – 7:30PM
Canyon Ferry Goosebay 5/25/19 9/15/19 8:30AM – 8:30PM Mon-Thurs
7:00AM – 8:30PM Fri-Sun
Canyon Ferry Hellgate 5/18/19 9/15/19 8:30AM – 8:30PM Mon-Thurs
7:00AM – 8:30PM Fri-Sun
Canyon Ferry North 5/11/19 10/13/19 8:30AM – 8:30PM Mon-Thurs
7:00AM – 8:30PM Fri-Sun
Canyon Ferry Silos 5/11/19 10/13/19 8:30AM – 8:30PM Mon-Thurs
7:00AM – 8:30PM Fri-Sun
Clearwater Junction 4/11/19 TBD 8:00AM – 6:00PM
CSKT Office Visit www.csktnomussels.org for more info
Cut Bank TBD TBD TBD
Dillon 4/6/19 9/22/19 6:45AM – 8:15PM 
Eureka 5/25/19 9/15/19 8:00AM – 8:00PM
Flowing Wells 5/19/19 9/29/19 TBD
Fort Peck Roving 5/17/19 9/3/19 TBD
Fresno 5/17/19 9/3/19

11:00AM – 8:00PM Thurs-Fri
6:00AM – 3:00PM Sat-Sun
FWP Kalispell (weekends/holidays) 3/13/19 10/15/19 9:00AM – 5:00PM Sat-Sun
FWP Regional Offices 1/2/19 12/31/19 8:00AM – 5:00PM Mon-Fri
Glacier National Park Visit www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/ais.htm for more info
Hardin 4/19/19 9/29/19 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Helena US-12 5/18/19 10/13/19 6:00AM – 9:00PM
Nashua 5/19/19 9/29/19 TBD
Plains 5/11/19 9/15/19 7:00AM – 7:00PM
Ravalli 3/15/19 10/15/19 7:00AM – 7:00PM
St. Regis 5/18/19 9/15/19 6:00AM – 10:00PM
Sula 5/18/19 9/15/19 8:00AM – 6:00PM
Tiber Marina 5/11/19 10/13/19 9:30AM – 8:30PM Mon-Thurs
9:00AM – 9:00PM Fri-Sun
Tiber VFW Campground 5/11/19 10/13/19 6:00AM – 9:00PM 
Tiber Willow Creek 5/25/19 9/6/19 6:00AM – 9:00PM 
Tongue River 5/25/19 9/29/19 7:00AM – 5:00PM Thurs-Sun
Troy 5/25/19 9/15/19 6:00AM – 10:00PM
Whitefish Lake City Beach 5/1/19 9/30/19 6:00AM – 9:00PM
Whitefish Lake City Beach Prevention/Decon 
(Overflow Parking Lot)
5/1/19 9/30/19 9:00AM – 5:00PM
Whitefish Lake State Park 5/1/19 9/30/19 7:00AM – 10:00PM
Wibaux 4/16/19 9/29/19 7:00AM – 7:00PM

What you can do to help

  • Ensure that you are not part of the problem
    • Drain all water from your watercraft before leaving the immediate area of the lake
    • Remove all weeds, mud or attached organisms from the boat and trailer
    • Always dispose unwanted bait in the trash, never bring live bait into Montana without authorization
    • Wash the exterior of your boat and trailer, hot-high pressure water is best
    • Rinse and clean live wells, use hot soapy water or a weak bleach solution
    • Allow boat to dry in between trips to different water bodies; ideally for 5 days
    • Never move live fish, aquatic invertebrates or plants from one body of water to another without Fish, Wildlife and Parks authorization.  It is unlawful to release any live aquarium or bait fish
  • Report any potential sightings of zebra or quagga mussels (see description below) immediately to the Fish, Wildlife and Parks ANS Coordinator (406-444-2449), if possible, collect a sample, place it in a jar or zip-loc bag and note specific location and date
  • Spread the word; tell your neighbors and friends about the importance of taking steps to prevent the spread of Aquatic Nuisance Species
  • For further questions call the ANS Coordinator at 406-444-2449

How to identify Quagga or Zebra mussels

  • Quagga and zebra mussels are similar in appearance
  • Adults look like a small clam with a D-shaped shell
  • Usually have alternating dark and light stripes, but these may not be present
  • About the size of your fingernail, although can be up to 1-2 inches
  • Small juveniles, which have just recently attached to a surface, look like black pepper and feel like sandpaper.

Quagga mussel on left, Zebra mussel on right, photo from USGS.

For more information, click on the following link https://cleandraindry.mt.gov/Aquatic-Invasive-Species


                                                  

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