HELENA – Montanans are getting their boats out of winter storage and preparing to hit the water.
Fish, Wildlife and Parks wants to remind the public to take the right steps to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
In 2016, two Montana bodies of water tested positive for invasive mussels: Canyon Ferry Reservoir near Helena and Tiber Reservoir near Shelby.
Although recent tests have not shown the presence of mussels or larvae, FWP said boaters still need to try to prevent the possible spread to other Montana waters.
Boats leaving any Montana water should be thoroughly cleaned, drained of water, and dried.
People traveling with any watercraft are required to stop at watercraft inspections stations.
Stations around Canyon Ferry have high pressure, hot water sprayers to help flush motors and live wells and kill any invasive species.
Daryl Miller, an Aquatic Invasive Species Inspector, asks that the public take the clean, drain, and dry method seriously.
“Everybody that owns a boat knows you need to clean, drain, and dry your boat. You’re not going to spread those aquatic invasive species around. Clean, drain, and dry your boat; shouldn’t have any problems,” said Miller.
Even if you clean, drain, and dry your watercraft, it is still mandatory to stop at the watercraft inspections.
Local boater programs are available to help streamline the inspection and decontamination process for boats that stay only in Canyon Ferry and Tiber Reservoirs.