The Joint Mussel Response Team will host open houses in April at eight towns in north central Montana to discuss the upcoming watercraft inspection season, new regulations, and local boater program certification.
The events will focus on Montana’s plan to detect, contain, and prevent the spread of invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species.
The open houses will run from 6-8 p.m., with a presentation beginning at 6:15 p.m. Local boaters can be certified after the presentation. Preregistration is not required. Here are the dates and locations:
- April 4 – Great Falls, Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, 4201 Giant Springs Road,
- April 6 – Lewistown, FWP area office, 215 W. Aztec Drive by the airport,
- April 7 – Shelby, Marias River Electric Coop, 910 W. Roosevelt Highway,
- April 10 – Chester, Liberty County Senior Center, 6th St. E.,
- April 12 – Havre, Great Northern Inn, 1345 1st St.,
- April 17 – Choteau, public library meeting room, 17 Main Ave. N.,
- April 18 – Conrad, Pondera County Shooting Sports Complex, 972 Granite St.
- April 20 – Fort Benton, city hall, 1204 Front St.
Boaters who recreate primarily on Tiber and Canyon Ferry reservoirs may be eligible to participate in a local boater program.
While local boaters won’t be required decontaminate their vessels with hot water each time they leave Tiber or Canyon Ferry – they’ll still be required to stop at an inspection station where they’ll be expedited through after a brief interview. The program is designed to decrease volume at decontamination stations and allow a focus on boats traveling elsewhere.
Prospective local boaters can get certified by attending an open house presentation. Motorized and non-motorized vessels like canoes, kayaks and paddleboards can participate in the local boater program.
To complete the local boater program application, boat owners will need the boat number, trailer plate number and the make, model and description of each boat they want to register. For nonmotorized watercraft, the make, model and description will suffice.
An online local boaters’ training application will be available in early April.
Similar events will be held in Townsend on April 4, Bozeman on April 5 and Butte on April 6. Additional open-house events are expected to be held in April in other communities and will be announced when dates and locations are secured.
By getting into the do-it-yourself “Clean, Drain and Dry” habit, Montana boaters and anglers can help prevent the risk of spreading destructive mussels and other aquatic invasive species, which are easily transported via water in boats or bait buckets.
When boaters and anglers Clean, Drain and Dry their boat and equipment after every outing on the water, they guarantee they’re not transporting AIS.
For more information visit Montana Mussel Response on Facebook.