HELENA — Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) are considering removing Canyon Ferry Reservoir’s suspected aquatic invasive species(AIS) status.
Zebra mussel larvae was first detected in 2016 at Canyon Ferry.
“Because of that detection of the zebra mussel at the microscopic level, we listed Canyon Ferry as a suspect positive water body,” said Thomas Woolf, FWP AIS bureau chief.
Aggressive early detection monitoring was conducted at Canyon Ferry for three years, but no further positive samples have been found.
Regional guidelines allow for the delisting of a suspect waterbody once no detections are found in a three year period.
FWP will hold a public hearing on Jan. 22 at 6:00 p.m. in the Fish, Wildlife and Parks Headquarters Building, 1420 E 6th Street, Helena, Montana.
People can also make a public comment online by Friday, January 24 at 11:59 p.m.
“The evidence from our surveying and sampling indicates that we have no more evidence of mussels out there,” said Woolf. “We’re looking to see what the public thinks about making that decision of lifting those restrictions.”
If Canyon Ferry is delisted, there will be a reduction in the watercraft inspection stations at the reservior and boats will no longer be required to have an exit inspection.
FWP Director Martha Williams is expected to release the decision on delisting Canyon Ferry Reservoir before summer boating season begins.
Watercraft inspection stations in Montana will open beginning in mid March, with the hope of catching snowbirds that may be bringing a boat from a contaminated waterbody.
Woolf says there are numerous other aquatic invasive species people need to be concerned about, and more information can be found on the FWP website.
“Clean, drain and dry your boat every time to prevent the spread of invasive species,” added Woolf.