Local boater training and certification for Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs can now be done online at musselresponse.mt.gov.
The online training course provides participants with information about the invasive mussel threat, how to appropriately clean, drain and dry your watercraft and why it’s important for everyone to take responsibility in protecting Montana’s waterbodies.
This year in Montana, watercraft owners can be certified as local boaters at both Tiber and Canyon Ferry to allow them to bypass decontamination stations at the reservoirs after each trip out on the water. Local boater certification is intended for those boaters who intend to boat only at Canyon Ferry or Tiber. Certified local boaters sign an agreement pledging to go through decontamination should they decide to launch in another waterbody. Certification for the local boater programs have been available at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks open houses around the state and now online.
The discovery last fall of aquatic invasive mussel larvae in water samples at Tiber Reservoir and a suspect sample from Canyon Ferry Reservoir has led to a multi-faceted, interagency response from Montana. This includes more than 30 inspection stations, a doubling in the monitoring efforts and decontamination stations about both Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs.
Boat ramps at both reservoirs are designated as open either to all boats or certified local boaters only. Currently, two boat ramps at each reservoir are open for all boaters. At Canyon Ferry, these boat ramps are the Silos on the southwest side of the lake and Shannon on the north end near the dam. At Tiber, the Tiber Marina and VFW ramps, both near the dam, are open to all boaters. Other boat ramps on each reservoir are open to certified local boaters only.
On both reservoirs, local boater ramps will be clearly marked. Maps for each reservoir are also available online at musselresponse.mt.gov.
Generally, decontamination only will require thoroughly cleaning, draining, and drying, which can be done in a matter of minutes. A full hot water decontamination of a more complex boat with ballasts or live wells takes an average of up to 30 minutes and can include spraying the exterior and flushing interior compartments with pressurized hot water (140°F). In the most extreme cases, the motor’s cooling system will need to be flushed.
The local boater program is geared for boaters who primarily spend their time on either reservoir. This program is being implemented to help reduce wait times at decontamination stations and to continue to ensure that waters outside of Tiber and Canyon Ferry are protected from invasive mussels.
For more information on invasive mussels, maps of inspection and decontamination stations, and how to clean, drain and dry your watercraft, go online to musselresponse.mt.gov.