The threat of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) to Montana’s recreational waterways is constant, and education on the topic is necessary in keeping Montana free of exotic species that can devastate important rivers like the Bighorn.
Last week, BHRA hosted an ANS forum with guest speaker Allison Zach, the Aquatic Nuisance species coordinator from the
University of Nebraska and Sean Flynn, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Eastern Montana ANS Supervisor. Allison shared strategies Nebraska water users have implemented to prevent ANS and presented on what water users have done in locations where ANS (particularly Quagga and Zebra mussels) have infested water ways. Sean Flynn presented on Montana’s ANS program and local prevention efforts. Currently, the state of Montana has a total of 42 watercraft inspection stations across the state that, in 2019, inspected a total of 113,168 watercraft. From that total, 6,736 vessels were found containing exotic species and were disinfected, with 16 of those containing either Quagga or Zebra mussels. Forum attendees included Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, the National Park Service, Irrigators, Miners, Magic City Fly Fishers, the Bureau of Land Management and local state representatives. For Montana ANS resources and data, please visit http://fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/species/ais/.