Boat inspection points created in Montana

HELENA – State wildlife officials are setting up boat inspection checkpoints to try to prevent aquatic invasive species from entering Montana’s waterways.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say state law requires vehicles hauling boats to stop at watercraft inspection stations, which are located at key border crossing sites, along major highways and near heavily used bodies of water. FWP aquatic invasive species coordinator Allison Begley said this month two boats were found carrying dead zebra mussels at a checkpoint near Hardin.

The Independent Record reported that zebra mussels also were discovered on a boat near Missoula after someone called in a tip.

Begley said Montana continues to be free of the zebra mussel infestation reported in 26 states. The mussels are quick to reproduce and can clog intake pipes and damage piers as well as disrupt ecosystems.

The state has set up 13 monitoring stations along popular highways and will have mobile inspection stations at popular boating areas such as the Missouri, Clark Fork and Madison river drainages. Roving crews will handle fishing tournaments and other events.

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