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Montana Opens Boat Inspection Stations

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Sunset at Flathead Lake (Steve Fullerton, Townsquare Media)

More than 30 inspection stations statewide begin operation over the Easter weekend to fight against invasion of aquatic mussels. The danger is high because some contamination can only be observed by a microscope, officials say.

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission approved more restrictive rules requiring those who boat on Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs, where evidence of mussels have been detected. According to a Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks news release, there are different rules for “local” boaters and other recreationists. For those who have complex boats (ballast tanks or live wells) hot water decontamination may be required upon leaving the lakes.

The inspection stations, meanhwhile, will pay specific attention to watercraft coming into Montana or across the Continental Divide in the Western Montana. People with motorized or nonmotorized watercraft must stop at the inspection stations.

The news release had these tips:

  • Boats coming from out of state must be inspected. No inspection? Do NOT launch.
  • Watercraft coming across the Continental Divide into Western Montana must be inspected.
  • Certified local boaters leaving Tiber or Canyon Ferry must stop at an inspection station.
  • If a local boater from Tiber or Canyon Ferry is going to another waterbody, they must be DECONTAMINATED.
  • Transporting surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers and streams in Montana is illegal. Use clean domestic water to transport live bait.
  • Officials say decontamination should take about a half hour, but a full hot water treatment could involve the motor’s cooling system and interior compartments.

    The slogan is still applicable this year: Clean. Drain. Dry.

    That means clean all mud, debris and vegetation from your boat. Drain all ballasts, bilges, live wells and motors. Dry all equipment and any standing water and insides of compartments.

    For more information check out the musselresponse.mt.gov website.

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