Invasive Species: Montana Inspecting All Watercraft Travelling West Across Divide Into Basin

anxious to get on the water after a long, cold winter are reminded to ensure
their watercraft are Clean, Drained and Dry to prevent the spread of aquatic
invasive species.

remains vigilante in stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species that can
devastate aquatic habitats, ruin fishing and boating opportunities, and damage
pipes and pumps used for agriculture and industry,” said Montana Fish, Wildlife
and Parks in a press release.


who have used their watercraft in any water outside of Montana must have the
boat inspected before launching. Snowbirds must seek out a watercraft
inspection when returning to Montana for the summer, even if their boat has
been inspected in another state.


lakes and reservoirs in southern states are mussel-positive waters.


invasive species, such as quagga and zebra mussels, can survive on the hulls of
watercraft during transport and microscopic mussel larvae can live undetected
in standing water in boat bilges and ballast tanks. The risk of moving these
invaders into Montana can be mitigated when boat owners are vigilant about
ensuring their watercraft are cleaned, drained of all water and dry.


Montana law requires all watercraft travelling west across the Continental
Divide into the Columbia River Basin to be inspected. And watercraft launching
anywhere within the Flathead Basin that was last launched on waters outside of
the Flathead Basin must be inspected.


heightened efforts to protect Montana’s waters are in response to the discovery
three years ago of aquatic invasive mussel larvae in water samples from Tiber
Reservoir. A sample from Canyon Ferry Reservoir also was found to be suspect
for the mussel larvae.


like in past years, watercraft owners must stop at any open inspection station
they encounter. Inspection stations are starting to operate across the state.
Boat owners can also contact any regional Fish, Wildlife & Parks office to
schedule an inspection. To find a watercraft inspection station and to learn
more, go to or call the FWP Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau
at 406-444-2440.


 Do I
need to be inspected?


about whether or not you need to get your watercraft inspected for aquatic
invasive species? Don’t worry, the answer is simpler than you might think.


Are you bringing your
boat into Montana from out of state?


you need to be inspected prior to launching.


Are you crossing the
Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin?


you need to be inspected prior to launching.


Are you launching on
waters within the Flathead Basin and your watercraft was last used on waters
outside the Flathead Basin?


you need to be inspected prior to launching.


Are you encountering
an open inspection station?


if you have any type of watercraft with you, you must stop and get inspected.


rules are not just good ideas, they’re the law. The three steps of Clean,
Drain, Dry greatly minimizes the risk of spreading aquatic invasive species. It
also minimizes the time required for inspection at a station.


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