With an increase of the boat inspections throughout the state, the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks personnel examined over 85,700 watercraft for invasive mussels this past year.

In a report last week, Joleen Tadej wrote that 17 boats were found to be carrying zebra or quagga mussels into the area.

Besides the boat inspections, FWP and partner agencies collected more than 1,500 plankton samples from 240 different lakes and other bodies of water. The good news there - no invasive mussel larvae or adults were found.

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) will continue to be a priority for FWP. The increased vigilance was the result of AIS mussels found in Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reserviors in 2016.

FWP is also studying a new sampling method using eDNA, which initially showed invasive mussels at Tiber, though the results are "Not conclusive."

Tadej said that 2018's efforts will include further training for inspection staff, and inspection stations will again be set up at Tiber and Canyon Ferry. Watercraft entering the state and crossing west over the Continental Divide will be required to be inspected - the same requirement at this past year.

FWP Director Martha Williams said, "We appreciate the vital work that FWP staff and our partners accomplished this year and remain committed to working together in 2018."

Remember, when your boat leaves the water, make sure it is clean, drained and dry.

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