State and tribal agencies are opening mandatory boat check stations this week to screen incoming watercraft for invasive species, like zebra and quagga mussels.
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will open an inspection station at its regional office in Kalispell Thursday, March 15. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will open the Ravalli check station on Friday, March 16. The station along I-15 in Dillon will open Saturday, March 31, with more stations opening on a rolling schedule leading up to Memorial Day.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes also require any boats participating in Spring Mack Days later this week to be inspected. A station will be available at Blue Bay starting Wednesday.
The Tribes and FWP are using a new pilot program this year that requires all boats, motorized and non-motorized, to be inspected prior to launch when entering the Flathead Basin. Inspections are also required for watercraft entering Montana and crossing the Continental Divide.
Boaters are required to stop at every inspection station they encounter.
What happens if Montana fails to stop the coming invasion of zebra and quagga mussels threatening the state's water bodies? MTPR's Nicky Ouellet looks into Montana's future (or one possible future) to see how the invasive mussels changed the Great Lakes region, and examines Montana's efforts to detect and prevent their spread.
Learn more about Montana's underwater invaders, with SubSurface, a podcast from Montana Public Radio.