Yellowstone on high alert for Aquatic Invasive Species

Yellowstone on high alert for Aquatic Invasive Species

Source: Billings Gazette
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Gazette Staff

With the threat of Aquatic Invasive Species moving closer to Yellowstone National Park, officials there have adopted rules that could temporarily close down all waters to boating if an infestation of nonnative mussels is detected in or near the park.

The new stance was outlined in a press release from the park in which it was also noted that Yellowstone fisheries officials are developing a rapid response plan if any Aquatic Invasive Species are detected.

Aquatic invasive species pose a grave threat to the health of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Park Service said. The detection of invasive mussels in Montana in 2016 underscores the urgent need for action to prevent these destructive species’ from entering the park, the press release added.

 The park wants boaters to know six important things for 2017:

• All watercraft are required to have a boat permit and a Yellowstone AIS inspection before launching in the park. Watercraft include, but are not limited to, power boats, sail boats, canoes, kayaks, and angler float tubes. Permits and inspections are available seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at various locations in the park.

• If a boat does not pass the AIS inspection, it will not be allowed to enter park waters.

• Boaters will find moveable barriers at Bridge Bay, Grant Village, and Lewis Lake. The barriers are in place to prevent non-permitted, non-inspected boats from entering park waters. Permitted boaters with inspected boats can move the barriers to exit the water.

• Managers will convene a science panel to objectively evaluate AIS prevention and management in the park.

 To prevent the spread of AIS all boaters should:

• Clean all plants, animals, mud, sand, and other debris from their boat, anchor, boots, and equipment. Use high-pressure, hot (120-140F) water if possible.

• Drain all water from your boat including the motor, bilge, livewell, and other compartments before you arrive. Leave drain plugs out during transport. Do not dump water or organisms from one water body into another.

• Dry all compartments and equipment in the sun for five days.