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Tuesday, April 7, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Invasive mussels caught clinging to boat at Montana check station

Zebra mussels removed from a boat at an aquatic invasive species check station in Washington.   Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife photo (COURTESY PHOTO / COURTESY PHOTO)
Zebra mussels removed from a boat at an aquatic invasive species check station in Washington. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife photo (COURTESY PHOTO / COURTESY PHOTO)

As the novel coronavirus marched its way across the state and country, another unwelcome invader reared its head, Monday.

Invasive aquatic mussels.

Montana officials found dried up and dead mussels on the motor of a boat en route to British Columbia. According to a news release from Montana Fish, Wildife & Parks the craft was stopped at a check station in Dillon, Mont. and had not launched in Montana.

Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and Idaho are the only states in the West still free of invasive quagga and zebra mussels, which can cause massive damage to waterways, fisheries, irrigation facilities and more.

It’s estimated that if the mussels entered the Columbia River system it would cost between $10 and $25 million per hydroelectric facility per year to keep the facilities running, Anderson said.

The news release is copied in full below:

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks Dillon watercraft inspection station intercepted a watercraft carrying invasive mussels Monday. The boat owner was traveling north on Interstate 15 en route to British Columbia and stopped at the recently opened inspection station. The watercraft was not launching in Montana.

The mussels were found on the motor and were dried up and dead. The inspectors could not conduct a hot water decontamination because of freezing temperatures. The watercraft was locked to the trailer, and officials in Canada were notified and will follow up with their own inspection.

This is the first boat with mussels that watercraft inspectors have intercepted this year.

FWP reminds all those transporting motorized or nonmotorized boats into Montana to have their watercraft inspected before launching. Boat owners are required to stop at all open watercraft inspection stations. Persons purchasing used boats should ensure the watercraft are clean, drained and dry before crossing Montana state line. To find a watercraft inspection station, visit CleanDrainDryMT.com.

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