Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks has released the 2018 Watercraft Inspection Station Annual Report. Highlights from the report include:
- FWP and inspection partners* checked more than 109,000 watercraft, the most inspections conducted since the program started in 2004.
- Inspectors intercepted 16 out-of-state boats with mussels attached.
- Standing water in bilges and live wells was the most common reason a boat failed an inspection.
Watercraft inspections are key to preventing the introduction of aquatic invasive species. While inspectors check boats and equipment for standing water, aquatic plants and organisms they also educate boat owners about the principles of clean, drain and dry to prevent the spread of AIS.
Additionally, FWP also released the 2018 AIS Early Detection and Monitoring Report, which outlines monitoring methods, survey locations and inspection results from the past year. Highlights from the report include:
- Plankton tow monitoring has tripled since 2016 with over 2,100 mussel early detection samples collected from nearly 240 waterbodies.
- Additional sampling was conducted on Tiber and Canyon Ferry reservoirs including artificial substrate sampling, inspections by scuba divers and snorklers, mussel detecting dogs and mussel eDNA sampling.
- No mussel larvae (veligers) or adults were detected in 2018. State-wide monitoring will continue in 2019.
The monitoring program is critical to observing the locations of existing AIS and the early discovery of new populations.
*Watercraft inspection station partners: Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, Blackfeet Nation, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, Garfield Conservation District, Glacier National Park, Missoula County Weed District, Whitefish Lake Institute.