Montana is getting ready to be much more aggressive in its fight against aquatic invasive species . . .
A revamped and more aggressive approach to prevent aquatic invasive species from proliferating in Montana has quietly been taking shape in Helena, but it soon will get a higher profile in the Legislature.
A draft bill has been the focus of a joint subcommittee on natural resources that would firmly establish Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks as the lead agency in a boat inspection program and provide additional funding to carry out the overall mission of combating invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels as well as Eurasian watermilfoil. These species have wreaked expensive havoc in other states, most recently invading waters in the Southwest.
Mark Aagenes, conservation director for Montana Trout Unlimited, said the new approach came about as the result of meetings with a wide variety of conservation groups and state agencies. That led to proposals to Gov. Steve Bullock’s office and then to the subcommitee’s draft bill, Aagenes said.