State Looks to Fund Effort to Combat Invasive Mussels

$10.2m plan includes increasing the number of watercraft inspection, decontamination stations

By Tristan Scott
A sign posted near the Somers boat ramp warns boaters about the dangers of zebra mussels. Beacon File Photo

HELENA — Montana officials are searching for ways to fund a proposed two-year plan to combat the spread of invasive mussels in the state’s waters.

On Monday, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks laid out their $10.2 million plan to the Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation. The plan includes increasing the number of watercraft inspection stations, creating decontamination stations and increasing water sample collections.

Larvae from either quagga or zebra mussels have been confirmed in multiple waterways across the state. The invasive mussels rapidly multiply and can damage beaches, clog boat motors and dams, harm fish and wildlife and damage infrastructure.

Several lawmakers have requested draft bills relating to invasive aquatic species, many of which could include a method of raising money for the response plan.

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