Montanans work together to protect our waters

Print Article

Montanans know how precious water is. It’s essential for fish and wildlife, boating and angling, irrigating, drinking and creating much of our electricity. When something threatens our water — such as aquatic invasive species — we are on high alert.

Preventing the introduction and spread of AIS is work that Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks takes very seriously as we understand the devastation it can cause to habitat, recreation and our economy.

After the discovery of invasive mussel larvae on Tiber Reservoir and a suspect sample on Canyon Ferry Reservoir in 2016, FWP significantly expanded our watercraft inspection, monitoring and outreach programs. We also increased efforts to coordinate these programs with partner agencies and organizations who, like us, want to stop AIS from infesting our waters.

Our resulting AIS program is based on four fundamental pillars: statewide coordination with partners, monitoring and early detection, rapid response preparedness and prevention.

Here are some examples of our work in these areas for the 2019 boating season:

Coordination

We have expanded our AIS education and outreach efforts with conservation clubs, watershed and weed groups, conservation districts and tribes to help us deliver information on AIS prevention to communities and audiences across the state.

Monitoring and Early Detection

We’ve grown our AIS monitoring program dramatically and are surveying more water bodies for all types of invasive plants and animals and increasing the number of water samples collected and analyzed for invasive mussel larvae. Last year, we collected and analyzed more than 2,100 water samples. This season, more partners are helping with monitoring, allowing more people to look for AIS around the state.

Rapid Response Preparedness

We’ve implemented a rapid-response plan that outlines the actions FWP and our partners would undertake if invasive mussels were detected.

Prevention

In 2018, we, and our partners, inspected a record number of watercraft in Montana. This year’s adjustments to our inspection stations will improve efficiency and ensure we’re targeting areas with the highest risk. This includes relocating some stations along with expanding the season and hours of operation of others.

We couldn’t do any of this work without the many partners who join us in protecting our waters. FWP contracts with local government entities including the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Blackfeet Nation, Missoula County and Garfield County Conservation District.

This year, we expect to contract with McCone Conservation District to operate a station at Nashua. In addition, Glacier National Park, Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area and the Whitefish Lake Institute will sponsor and operate inspection stations in coordination with FWP.

Still, the most important role to play is yours. The protection of our waters needs everyone’s help. If you boat or fish, make sure to follow the principles of clean, drain, dry.

•Clean all mud and debris from the watercraft, trailer, waders and fishing equipment.

•Pull drain plugs and make sure all compartments, bilges and ballasts are drained.

•Dry out your watercraft, including dry wells, storage areas and compartments.

For more information, you can visit fwp.mt.gov or call the FWP fisheries office at 406-444-2440.

Thank you for helping us protect Montana’s waters.

— Martha Williams, Director, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

Print Article

Read More Letters to the Editor

House Democratic leader legislative wrap-up

May 14, 2019 at 5:00 am | Western News Four months ago, as the newly-elected House Democratic leader for the 2019 Legislative Session, I made a promise to the people of Montana that Democrats would lead with solutions. Now that the legis...

Comments

Read More

Congressional appropriators: please fund farm bill programs

May 14, 2019 at 5:00 am | Western News The most recent farm bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in December. However, simply enacting new legislation doesn’t mean Congress’ work is done. We now have to figur...

Comments

Read More

KNF has more than enough timber

May 14, 2019 at 5:00 am | Western News In the April 2 issue of the Western News, I was struck by the following quote from Barry Dexter, of Stimson Lumber Co, referring to the need for a “steady reliable flow of timber” to support a sawmil...

Comments

Read More

Daines supports improving rural broadband

May 14, 2019 at 5:00 am | Western News Without access to broadband internet, students are unable to keep up in the classroom, patients are denied the promise of telemedicine tools and rural businesses are locked out of the global economy....

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 293-4124
311 California Ave.
Libby, MT 59923

©2019 The Western News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X