Close call: Washington-bound boat carrying invasive mussels stopped in Montana

Close call: Washington-bound boat carrying invasive mussels stopped in Montana

News Type: State, Regional, Federal Source: The Spokesman-Review
Click here to read the article: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/apr/23/close-call-washington-bound-boat-carrying-invasive/

A boat headed to the Puget Sound was carrying zebra mussels, according to a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks news release.

The boat, which was traveling from Ohio, was stopped Friday at the Anaconda watercraft inspection station.

According to the news release mussels were found in the boat’s gimbal area, the trim tabs and several other crevices. The cabin cruiser was covered in shrink wrap. Inspectors hot washed the exterior of the boat but were unable to “flush the motors, bilge pump or any other part of the boat.”

The transporter of the boat did not own the boat and did not have keys to it. Idaho and Washington officials were notified and will track and possibly quarantine the vessel.

Wyoming, Washington, Oregon and Idaho are the only states in the West still free of invasive quagga and zebra mussels, which can cause massive damage to waterways, fisheries, irrigation facilities and more.

In 2016 invasive mussels larvae were confirmed in two Montana reservoirs including the famed fishing waters of the Missouri River.

The tiny mussels can clog pipes, foul dams, and cover beaches, and they can travel from one part of the country to another by hitching rides on trailered boats and other watercraft.

Increased boat inspections in Washington, Idaho and Montana started last year. Officials are particularly concerned about the creatures infesting the Columbia River Basin.