Today, Governor Steve Bullock visited the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Watercraft Check Station in Ronan. Bullock was joined by Rep. Mike Cuffe, DNRC Director John Tubbs and other leaders who work on this issue in Montana.
The visit highlighted the work Bullock has done to address AIS in the state of Montana. During the 2013 legislative session, Bullock worked with Rep. Mike Cuffe to pass HB586, a bill that ensures Montana takes a proactive approach to preventing and addressing AIS throughout the state. In addition, the bill streamlined the process of addressing AIS by making Fish, Wildlife and
Parks the sole authority.
"Working together, we were able to find a responsible approach to addressing aquatic invasive species in a way that not only protects irrigation systems, boat motors, fish hatcheries, and community water sources, but also saves Montana taxpayers money," said Bullock. "This solution streamlines efforts to address AIS throughout the state, and makes state government
This proactive approach to addressing AIS will save the taxpayers money. A recent study estimated the total cost in Montana of a full-blown zebra mussel infestation at more than $80 million. In contrast, an inspection station costs about $52,000 a year to operate.
To date, more than 23,000 boats have been inspected.
In addition to highlighting the bipartisan effort to address this issue, Bullock also touted the collaboration between his office, legislators, government agencies, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and other local leaders and stakeholders.