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Home Protect Aquatic Invasive Species

Help Prevent Water Weeds

Inspect. Clean. Dry.


Recreate in the Clark Fork?
Don't give water weeds a free ride.

Invasive weeds, mussels, and snails can stow away on felt-soled waders and boats.

Be sure waders, boots, and boats are clean and dry.

See a suspicious-looking plant, mussel, or boat covered in weeds?  Call 1-800-TIP-MONT

You Can Make a Difference! Print E-mail



Help Protect the Clark Fork from Aquatic Invasive Species

Several invasive streamside and submerged weeds have taken root in the Clark Fork basin.  To help prevent the spread of weeds--and to keep other aquatic invaders like zebra and quagga mussels at bay--it's important to inspect, clean, and dry boats, boots, and gear after using them on a river or lake this summer.  Help keep our waters free of harmful invasive species, like Eurasian milfoil, zebra and quagga mussels, and other unwanted water weeds.  Download our Aquatic Invasives ID Card today. Questions? Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Update from the 2012 Summer Season

Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks and Department of Agriculture operated watercraft inspection stations from May through September, which were located at various highways and waterbodies throughout the state. As of September 24th, station crews for both agencies inspected a combined total of 35,263 watercraft in 2012.  The number of contaminated boats found include: 4 carrying invasive mussels; 264 carrying aquatic vegetation like Eurasian watermilfoil, curlyleaf pondweed, and flowering rush; and 1 with a New Zealand mud snail.
Here's a summary for inspections in our neighboring states:

* Idaho: Total of 42,142 inspections (57 watercraft positive for mussels).

* Wyoming: Total of 39,303 inspections (219 high-risk inspections; 94 decontaminations).

For more details on Montana boat inspections, contact Linnaea Schroeer, FWP, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Craig McLane, MDA,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


How you can help -- stop at watercraft inspection stations.

Help keep the Clark Fork's waters clean and free of invasive species by getting your boat checked out. Montana's watercraft inspection stations open May 14th along major highways.  We hope you'll stop with your boat at the Ronan and Clearwater Junction stations, or at one of the roving stations in the Bitterroot or the Swan.

Do we have aquatic invaders in the Clark Fork yet?

Yes.  Several streamside weeds have taken root, including purple loosestrife, saltceder, and yellowflag iris.  As for submerged invasives, Eurasian watermilfoil is present in the Noxon and Cabinet Gorge reservoirs in the Lower Clark Fork River, and has also been found in Northwestern Montana at Beaver Lake.  This water weed forms dense mats along the surface of the water, threatening water quality and fish populations.  Fortunately, cooperative efforts to treat this weed are proving successful.  But it’s important to know how to prevent the spread of this weed, keep it isolated, and make headway eradicating it—all while preventing other aquatic invaders—namely zebra and quagga mussels—from taking hold in the Clark Fork basin.

Important: Anyone who has fished or boated in Beaver Lake must clean their boats, equipment, and waders prior to entering another water body.  Please contact Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) in Kalispell at 406.444.2449 if uncontaminated equipment was taken from Beaver Lake to any other lake, so those locations can also be monitored.  Read this press release on monitoring efforts near Beaver Lake

How can you stop an "alien invasion," which will only get more expensive and damaging down the road?

It’s simple.  All you have to do is inspect, clean and dry your boats, boots, and gear after you get out of a river or lake this summer.  Here are some tips on how to keep our waters free of harmful invasive species, like Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra and quagga mussels, and other unwanted water weeds:

  • Look for any plants, mud, dirt, or animals (especially snails or mussels) on your boat, trailer, waders, or other water-related gear.
  • Drain all the water from your boat right where you take it out, including the bilge, motor, and live well.  Never transfer water from one water body to another.
  • Wash your boat, trailer, and all water-related gear to make sure they aren’t carrying unwanted plants of critters.  Use high-pressure and hot water if you can.
  • Air-dry your boat and equipment for as long as possible between trips to rivers and lakes.  Aquatic invasive species can’t live long outside of water.
  • Discard unwanted bait or fish carcasses in trash cans on land, and never into the water.  Never transport aquatic plants or animals from one water body to another.
  • Stop at state-sponsored inspection stations if you see them on the road.  The Lower Clark Fork region has mandatory check stations to prevent the spread of Eurasian watermilfoil, but you might also see some voluntary check stations roving near popular waterways this summer.
  • MAKE IT EASY: At the least, keep a bucket handy on your boat or in your car.  You can scoop out water from the river or lake you just left, and wash mud and debris off on the shore before you leave.  That way you won’t carry potential invaders to another water body.

Speak up to protect our waters!

Did you see a suspicious-looking aquatic plant?  A non-native mussel?  A boat coated in weeds?

Call 1-800-TIP-MONT or fill out an online form to report what you see on our lakes, rivers, and streams.


Governor Schweitzer, FWP Chief Take "Clean Angler Pledge" June 2011

Montana Outdoors: "Keeping Invaders at Bay" May/June 2010