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Aquatic Invasive Mussels: Governor Declares Statewide Natural Resource Emergency

For more information and updates visit:

Via the Montana Mussel Response website (

“Governor Steve Bullock issued an executive order November 30, 2016 declaring a statewide natural resource emergency for Montana water bodies due to the detection of invasive aquatic mussel larvae.

The State of Montana’s Mussel Response Team was formed to rapidly assess the extent and severity of the mussel incident impacting Montana’s waterways. The team is working to develop a coordinated response and long-term strategy in order to mitigate economic and ecological damage.

To accomplish this, the team is collecting data and information in order to make informed decisions, contain and control affected areas, and develop procedures to prevent future contamination risks. Providing the public with accurate and timely information is a priority of the response team…

The team has prioritized the processing of water samples not yet analyzed, including increasing the capacity of the state lab as well as sending several to a Colorado lab. On-ground surveys for adult mussels have been conducted at both reservoirs using specially trained mussel sniffing dogs. The dogs alerted to mussel scent at both reservoirs, but divers and snorkelers have not found any adult mussels to date.

Multiple task forces have been formed as a result of the response including an inspection station and decontamination task force, a closure and restrictions task force, a control task force, a monitoring and sampling task force and an economic impacts task force.

The response team is working closely with experts who have an extensive scope of knowledge and experience. It is reaching out to and talking with local, state and national officials to gather input and inform decision making.

What Can You Do?

Aquatic invasive species (AIS), including diseases, are easily spread from one water body to the other. Anglers, boaters, construction workers, pond owners, gardeners, seaplane pilots, field workers – virtually anyone who works or plays in or around water can unknowingly transport these pests on their boats and equipment or allow them to spread via improper management practices. It takes only one mistake to potentially infest a new water body.”


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