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Aquatic Invasive Species bill draft focus of joint subcommittee

By Rebecca Vogt, KCFW Reporter, rvogt@kcfw.com
Published On: Mar 07 2013 04:59:03 PM MST
Aquatic Invasive Species bill draft focus of joint subcommittee
KALISPELL, Mont. -

A joint subcommittee on natural resources have zeroed in on a draft bill that would make Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks the lead agency in the fight against aquatic invasive species.

In a 2012 report, FWP inspected over 25,000 boats that entered Montana waters, a threefold increase since 2011. The bill draft also calls for increased funding to combait the nuisance species like zebra and quagga mussels as well as Eurasian milfoil.

Fishermen we spoke to say these species, especially milfoil, can clog up our rivers, streas, and lakes. They cause naturally growing weeds to die out which change the ecosystem and drive fish out of their once natural habitat.

"Maybe having a fisheries biologist in here like when the opening season for fishing starts and educating people on 'Hey these bodies of water have Eurasian milfoil. Make sure you're washing your boats, cleaning your gear, and your tackle and your waders and all that, just a big education," explained Chancy Jeschke, a local fisherman who also works at Snappy's Sport Senter. "So I think fish and game is moving forward on that it should really help things."