MTPR

Aquatic Invasive Species

Boat inspections are mandatory at City Beach and Whitefish Lake State Park this season
Nicky Ouellet

As the state ramps up its efforts this year to screen boats for invasive species, some local groups have taken inspections into their own hands.

The City of Whitefish and the Whitefish Lake Institute, for example, have been running two city-funded mandatory check stations since Memorial Day at the only public boat launches on Whitefish Lake. The Whitefish Lake Institute, a local nonprofit that monitors water quality on the lake, also runs a decontamination station.

Montana officials say two boats carrying invasive mussels were stopped at watercraft inspection stations over the Memorial Day weekend.
Katrin Frye

Montana officials say two boats carrying invasive mussels were stopped at watercraft inspection stations over the Memorial Day weekend.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say one crossed into eastern Montana from the Great Lakes Region on May 26 bound for West Yellowstone. Staffers hot-washed the boat, which was then taken to Bozeman for a complete decontamination.

Blackfeet tribal leaders have reopened some reservation waters to motorized boats. All boats are required to receive an official inspection before launching into a lake or river on the reservation.
Katrin Frye

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Blackfeet tribal leaders have reopened some reservation waters to motorized boats after approving new regulations in response to the threat of aquatic invasive mussels.

The Flathead Beacon reported last week that motorized crafts are limited to four lakes (Duck, St. Mary, Mission and Four Horn lakes).

A fisherman hooks a big one on the Clark Fork River.
Josh Burnham

Montana anglers will now have to purchase an Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Pass — even if they've already bought a fishing license for 2017 — as part of a program passed by the Legislature and signed into law Thursday.

The passes are expected to generate $3.2 million dollars per year to be used in the fight against aquatic invasive species (AIS) that threaten the health of the state's waters.

Georgia Smies, an aquatic biologist for the Flathead Tribes, plays a game about the impacts of aquatic invasive species with students from Lolo
Nicky Ouellet

This week, the shore of the lower Flathead River west of Ronan is the biggest classroom in Montana. Fourth and fifth graders from across western Montana are here for the River Honoring, an annual event hosted by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, where they learn about the plants and animals native to the reservation.

A legislative proposal by Senate President Scott Sales to slap a $25 tax on out-of-state bicyclists visiting Montana turns out to be a big joke, but it's going over like a lead ballon.
Corin-Cates-Carney

A legislative proposal to slap a $25 tax on out-of-state bicyclists visiting Montana received a lot of negative buzz over the past week. Turns out it was also a big joke. And it’s going over like a lead balloon with cycling advocates like Ginny Sullivan.

Jim Elser, director of the Flathead Biological Research Station, answers questions at a public meeting on aquatic invasive mussels.
Nicky Ouellet

Zebra and quagga mussels are aquatic invasive species, quick to colonize and very difficult to get rid of. They’ve caused millions of dollars of damage since they started popping up in Great Lake states in the 1980s, and they have a lot of people in the Flathead Valley concerned right now.

Katrin Frye

The Flathead Lake Biological Station has scientists conducting research not just on the waters of the Crown of the Continent, but also around the Pacific Rim, South America, and Norway, among others. Each summer the Station opens its doors to the community to showcase some of the different work being done.

Dr. Jack Stanford said at each annual open house they try to emphasize different research Biological Station scientists are conducting.

Katrin Frye

Pepin is an 8-year-old Belgian Malinois trained to identify about 19 different scents.

In a demonstration at the Flathead National Forest office he’s finding wolverine scat Megan Parker placed out there earlier in the day. Parker is the Director for Research, and also a co-founder of Working Dogs for Conservation. The Missoula-based group is in the Flathead to talk with the Flathead Basin Commission about how dogs like Pepin could help in the effort to stop aquatic invasive mussels and weeds from getting into the area.