GREAT FALLS – The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks watercraft inspection station in Anaconda intercepted a boat carrying zebra mussels on Friday.
The cabin cruiser was being transported from Ohio to Puget Sound in Washington, according to a press release from FWP.
The inspection station reported that many mussels were found in the boat’s gimbal area, the trim tabs and several crevices.
The boat was wrapped in shrink wrap, and inspectors hot-washed the exterior of the boat to the best of their ability.
The inspectors were not able to flush the motors, bilge pump or any other part of the boat. The transporter of the boat was not the owner of the boat, and he did not have keys to the boat.
Officials in Idaho and Washington were notified. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife will follow up with the vessel to wash and possibly quarantine it.
FWP reminds anyone who is transporting motorized or non-motorized boats into Montana to have their watercraft inspected before launching.
Boat owners are required to stop at all open watercraft inspection stations.
The FWP website states: Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are those that impact water bodies and wetlands. Whether they come on the trailers or hulls of recreational boats, or from the water of an angler’s bait bucket, several non-native invasive species such as Eurasian watermilfoil and New Zealand mud snails have found their way into Montana’s water bodies. Their presence can cause severe damage to local ecosystems, industry and tourism.
To find a watercraft inspection station visit CleanDrainDryMT.com.