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Vincent tapped for Upper Columbia Conservation Commission

by WILL LANGHORNE
The Western News | October 22, 2021 7:00 AM

Gov. Greg Gianforte appointed a third generation Libby man to a conservation commission designated to protect Montana waterways from invasive species earlier this month.

Bruce Vincent, president of Environomics, is joining the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission, according to an Oct. 4 release from the governor’s office. Following his appointment, Vincent said the commission would focus primarily on monitoring and stopping the spread of invasive zebra mussels in tributaries of the Columbia River. Vincent saw his part on the commission as being a liaison between the panel and the public.

“How I see my role is assuring the public understands what is at stake,” he said during an Oct. 7 interview.

Researchers first detected zebra mussels in Montana waterways in 2016. These freshwater bivalves native to Eurasia could cost the state up to $234 million a year in damages, according to the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. These direct costs would reflect mitigation work and revenues lost. Damages would greatly increase when factoring indirect costs, including harm to native species, lost jobs, and personal and cultural ties to waterways.

While on the commission, Vincent said he would draw on his experience as a member of a citizen committee that looked into long-term plans for the Thompson Chain of Lakes area. Vincent also boasts a background as a motivational speaker, has testified before Congress on natural resources issues and is a third-generation logger.

Vincent’s term on the commission will run through May 31, 2025.