RAVALLI – Montana’s boat inspection sites expect upward of 2,000 boats statewide over the long holiday weekend, and if you stopped at the Ravalli inspection station on Wednesday afternoon, you might have had a surprise inspector: Gov. Steve Bullock.
“They take this job very, very seriously,” Bullock told MTN News. “Because you know that if you made one mistake. that could impact a waterway,”
“Just for the Flathead Lake area alone — if mussels ended up getting into that lake — property value could be impacted by $1.5 billion,” he pointed out. “The beaches that families will be enjoying all weekend long could be completely corroded with the mussels.”
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials note that states in the western region work together to fight invasive species.
Bullock says Montana is a shining example of a successful inspection program, “and Montana’s program is now seen as one of the premier programs in the entire country.”
“You could say there has only been 16 different detections so far this season, but every one of those is the possibility of a lake or waterway saved,” he said. “So, it’s pretty critical, the good work these folks are doing 24 hours a day.”
More than 40,000 boats have already been inspected this season at the 30 watercraft inspection stations the state operates. To date, 16 boats with invasive mussels have been intercepted coming into Montana.
You can find more information about inspection stations and other efforts to address aquatic invasive species in Montana here.
-Reported by Connor McCauley/MTN News