Montana Intercepts Boat From Great Lakes Carrying Invasive Mussels; Oregon Opens Stations

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Anaconda watercraft inspection station intercepted a boat carrying invasive mussels Monday.

The boat was being transported from the Great Lakes area to Bellingham, WA, by a commercial hauler. The boat was last used on Lake Huron and had been in dry dock since October.

Mussels were found on the transom and trim tabs and were dried-up and dead. The inspectors decontaminated the boat before releasing it. The boat will not launch in Montana.

Officials in Idaho and Washington have been notified and will follow up with the vessel to conduct their own inspections.

This is the first boat with mussels that watercraft inspectors have stopped this year.

FWP reminds all those transporting motorized or nonmotorized boats into Montana to have their watercraft inspected before launching. Boat owners are required to stop at all open watercraft inspection stations. Persons purchasing used boats should ensure the watercraft are clean, drained and dry before crossing Montana state line. To find a watercraft inspection station, visit http://cleandraindry.mt.gov/

Meanwhile, Oregon announced that aquatic invasive species inspections are required for all watercraft entering Oregon if the inspection station is open. Located around Oregon, stations are open if large orange “Boat Inspection Ahead” signs are posted followed by “Inspection Required for All Watercraft.”

Inspecting boats coming into the state is the first line of defense in keeping aquatic invasive species such as zebra or quagga mussels, snails and aquatic plants out of Oregon, said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “These invaders can cost millions in damage to water delivery systems and serious environmental damage to our rivers, lakes and native aquatic species.”

ODFW inspection stations in Ashland and Ontario are open year-round. Seasonal stations open today (April 17) in Brookings, Klamath Falls, Lakeview and Umatilla.

Inspections for aquatic invasive species typically take just five to 10 minutes. Watercraft found with aquatic invasive species attached is decontaminated on the spot. Both boat inspections and decontaminations, if needed, are free.

“It’s important boaters stop at these stations, get a free boat inspection, and help keep aquatic invaders out of Oregon and Pacific Northwest waters,” said Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species Supervisor. “People who stop at these stations are directly contributing to our success in keeping aquatic invasive zebra and quagga mussels, snails, and aquatic plants out of Oregon.”

All vehicles towing or carrying motorized or non-motorized boats, including canoes, kayaks, paddleboards and sailboats must stop. Boatner said anyone hauling a boat who doesn’t stop at an open station could receive a $110 fine. For boat safety inspections, contact your local county sheriff marine patrol or the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permits are also required for most boaters in Oregon. Non-motorized boats (paddlecraft) 10 feet and longer require a permit as do all motorized boats. Permits are available at ODFW license sales agents or ODFW offices that sell licenses, at Marine Board dealers and online via Oregon State Marine Board or ODFW. Permit sales provide funding for the six boat inspection stations.

“Everyone who boats needs to make sure they always practice “Clean, Drain, and Dry” before putting their boat in at another water body. And anglers should be vigilant about cleaning and drying all their gear after each use,” Boatner said.

ODFW technicians are specifically trained to inspect for aquatic invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels that can range in size from microscopic to up to two inches and attach themselves to many areas on boats that are hard to see. They can also live as long as 21 days out of water. New Zealand mud snails are just three to six millimeters long and easily attach themselves to boots, waders and fishing gear.

In 2018, technicians inspected 28,190 watercraft coming into Oregon and found 365 with aquatic invasive species. Aquatic vegetation, marine and freshwater organisms contaminated 354 of those boats and the remaining 11 had quagga or zebra mussels attached. Contaminated boats came from Arizona, California, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Also see:

— CBB, March 26, 2019, “Draft Report: Watercraft Inspections For Invasive Mussels Increased By 23 Percent Last Year” http://www.cbbulletin.com/442358.aspx

— CBB, March 24, 2017, “Study: Basin Efforts To Detect Non-Native Mussels Must Increase, Improve To Prevent Costly Invasion” http://www.cbbulletin.com/438583.aspx

— CBB, Sept. 6, 2013, “Report Says Spending Millions On Zebra/Quagga Mussel Prevention ‘Economically Justified’’’ http://www.cbbulletin.com/428232.aspx

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