By Jessianne Castle EBS CONTRIBUTING EDITOR
BOZEMAN – In February, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks released reports detailing the 2018 effort to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species, announcing that 16 out-of-state boats were found to be transporting non-native mussels.
Last year saw the highest number of boat inspections since inception of the program in 2004, as state efforts steadily increase following the declaration of a statewide natural resource emergency when invasive mussel larvae were found at the Tiber and Canyon Ferry reservoirs in 2016.
In addition to more reliance on technology as a way of providing timely reports and access to information, the agency is furthering the reach of the “Clean. Drain. Dry.” campaign through information sharing with partners like Glacier National Park, Bighorn National Recreation Area, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Blackfeet Nation.
In Big Sky, the Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance and Gallatin River Task Force are also extending the Clean. Drain. Dry. campaign and are working together on an education and outreach program to keep the Gallatin River free of invasive species. The effort that has been funded in part by the Yellowstone Club Community Foundations, Moonlight Community Foundation and Spanish Peaks Community Foundation.
“We’re so lucky in the Gallatin that it remains so clean,” said GISA Executive Director Jennifer Mohler. “If we let our guard down, the risk to the Gallatin is increased. It’s that prevention approach: If we can get these things stopped before they reach our waterbodies, it will save us.”