Addressing the Threat of Aquatic Invasive Species

Invasive species are one of the most serious environmental threats of the 21st century. Invasive species are defined as “a species that is non-native to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” Invasive species are also one of the largest threats to biodiversity, cited as second only to habitat destruction as a result of development.

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native species that pose a threat to waterways. The prevention of AIS introductions and their spread provide significant benefits to the environment, state and local economies, as well as industries dependent on water such as hydropower generation and irrigation. The longer an introduction can be prevented, the more protected the native species, the less funding spent on response efforts, and the greater chance we have to augment the science and develop control methods that are more likely to be effective. Many of these species, including plants, mussels, fish, amphibians, snails, and others, pose a significant threat to Montana’s water management facilities, water supply infrastructure, and aquatic ecosystems.

Montana has managed an AIS Program for many years, however it was significantly ramped up in 2016 after the detection of zebra/quagga mussel larvae in two reservoirs (Tiber and Canyon Ferry). Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks runs the AIS Program for the State of Montana, with the support of other agencies and partners. The Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3) was established by the Montana Legislature in 2017 to augment efforts to protect the Columbia River Basin from the threats posed by AIS. In an effort to assess how well the program is working and where improvements can be made, the UC3 is conducting an AIS Program Evaluation for Montana. Your responses to this survey will be an integral part of that effort. The survey will take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

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* 1. Did you have a 'direct' experience with the Montana Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Program during the 2018 season?

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* 2. How well do you feel that the Montana AIS Program addressed the overall threat of AIS in Montana?