Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

Remember to “Inspect. Clean. Dry.”

“Inspect. Clean. Dry.”

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks encourage Montanans and visitors to “inspect, clean, and dry,” boats, trailers and fishing gear to “Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!”

The hitchhikers are aquatic invasive species (AIS) unintentionally brought into Montana from other places. They include clams, fish, mussels, plants, weeds, and disease-causing organisms that can overwhelm lakes and rivers, kill fish and plants, and damage ecosystems. AIS harm recreational and agricultural resources by damaging boats and gear, clogging water pipes and hydropower facilities, jamming community water sources and choking off irrigation systems.

Once again, FWP’s mandatory watercraft inspection stations will be in operation at strategic highway locations and boat ramps this boating season. Crews annually inspect more than 20,000 boats – about 5,000 from out-of-state.

“Montana’s best defense against invasive species is to inspect, clean, and dry boats, trailers, and fishing gear after each use,” said Ron Aasheim, FWP spokesman in Helena.
   1. Inspect – After leaving a lake or stream, inspect your boat, engine, trailer, anchor, waders, boots, and other fishing and boating gear for mud, water, and vegetation that could carry aquatic invasive species.
   2. Clean – Completely remove all mud, water, and vegetation you find. Boaters need to drain boats and use hot water with a pressurized power sprayer, found at most do-it-yourself car washes. The hot water helps kill organisms and the pressure removes mud and vegetation. No need to use soap or chemicals.
   3. Dry – Aquatic invaders can survive only in water and wet areas. By draining and drying your boat and fishing gear thoroughly, you will kill most invasive species. The longer you keep your boat, trailer, waders and other gear outside in the hot sun between trips, the better.

“If boaters and anglers get into the inspect, clean and dry habit, we’ll help to prevent a number of unintentional introductions of harmful species in Montana,” Aasheim said.

FWP inspection crews are reporting more boat owners are becoming familiar with FWP’s “Inspect-Clean-Dry’’ message and are showing up at inspection stations with their boat plugs out. Boat owners said that’s a direct response to information received from previous inspections on the importance of having a drained and dry boat.

To learn more, visit FWP’s website at fwp.mt.gov. Click “Inspect. Clean. Dry.”

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