One half of one percent (approximately) might not seem like much. But in this battle, it means a lot to the well-being of Montana waters.

As the season starts to wind down, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has released an update on 2023 numbers for watercraft inspected in the state and how many have been found to have contained aquatic invasive species so far this year. Hopefully awareness campaigns and FWP's diligence are combining to reduce the numbers of fouled watercraft.  And there has definitely been no shortage of inspections.

So far this year, Montana FWP and its partners have inspected more than 86,000 watercraft for aquatic invasive species. Those partners include tribes, counties and conservation districts. Nearly 20 roadside watercraft inspection stations are operated across the state. A complete list is available here.

Of those 86,000+ watercraft inspections, 45 were mussel-fouled and more than 400 were found with aquatic weeds. Some of the more recent watercraft detected with contaminants were:

A ski boat that was recently purchased in Minnesota was intercepted with mussels at the Wibaux watercraft inspection station. The boat was decontaminated, locked to the trailer and released to its final destination, Pend Oreille, Idaho. Idaho was notified to allow for follow-up.

The Wibaux station also intercepted a wakeboard boat, bound for Lake Tahoe, was recently purchased in Minnesota with mussels in the sea strainer. The boat was decontaminated, locked to the trailer and authorities at Lake Tahoe were notified for follow-up.

The Broadus inspection station intercepted a recently-purchased mussel-fouled ski boat from Minnesota heading for Big Sky. Staff decontaminated the boat, locked it to the trailer and FWP staff followed up with the owner for a full decontamination.

As the boating season winds down, Montana inspection stations will be closing. In fact, the St. Xavier and Sula stations are now closed. Other stations will be closing in the coming weeks.

Please remember whether it's a boat, kayak, canoe, float tube, stand-up paddleboard or other forms of watercraft, you must stop at open inspection stations.


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