Group gives Montana ‘C-minus’ for watercraft inspections

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MISSOULA, Montana (AP)—A newly formed watchdog group says Montana’s aquatic invasive species prevention program has serious flaws.

The Missoulian reports Watershed Protection Advocates released a report that gave Montana a C- grade for its watercraft inspection station management, saying the state’s waters are often completely or partially unprotected from invasive mussels.

In recent years, Montana has spent millions of dollars to inspect boats for invasive zebra and quagga mussels, which could devastate the Columbia River Basin. Last year, the state had 47 boat inspection and decontamination stations.

But Watershed Protection Advocates says improvements are urgently needed, such as additional training and specifying minimum hours and seasons of operation for inspection stations at the state’s borders.

The report comes as several invasive-species funding and regulatory measures are working through the state Legislature.

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Information from: Missoulian.

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