Tester: Montana’s Mussel Infestation Must Be Top Priority

Senator Pushes Federal Officials to Quickly Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species, Protect Outdoor Economy

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester is pushing federal officials to make Montana’s mussel infestation a top priority and take swift action to prevent the spread of this invasive species that could jeopardize the state’s outdoor economy.

In a letter to the Department of the Interior, Tester urged the federal agency responsible for combating invasive species to work with Governor Bullock’s Rapid Response Team and treat the mussel infestation in the Tiber Reservoir and Canyon Ferry Lake with immediate urgency.

“Invasive species can destroy water infrastructure, limit recreational opportunities, hurt our outdoor economy, and permanently damage the ecology of Montana’s world class bodies of water,” Tester said. “It is critical that this fight is all hands on deck, and I will be working closely with Department of the Interior and Governor Bullock to limit the spread, and ultimately control the mussel infestation in Tiber Reservoir and Canyon Ferry. Montana’s mussel infestation must be a top priority.”

Tester pushed the Department’s National Invasive Species Council to quickly deploy its rapid response efforts, noting that the sooner control actions are underway, the more likely that efforts to halt the spread and eradicate invasive species are successful.

Tester also expressed concern that since Montana is a headwaters state, the threat of mussel larva traveling down the Missouri River’s current is very real and poses a monumental threat to numerous lakes and reservoirs across the west.

Tester is currently pushing a provision in the Water Resources Development Act to provide additional resources for watercraft inspection stations in Montana and other western states to prevent the spread of mussels into the Columbia River Basin.

The National Invasive Species Council can provide technical, financial, and human resources support to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Tester’s letter to the National Invasive Species Council is available HERE.