Missoula Current

After testing more than 180 water bodies across the state, the Montana Mussel Response Team detected no new signs of invasive mussels beyond the Missouri River Basin – good news to the interests tied to the state's rivers and lakes.

“No mussel larvae were found in any of the remaining samples,” said Matthew Wolcott, the Mussel Response incident commander. “This gives us a much clearer picture of what we’re dealing with, and where we'll focus our efforts going forward.”

Tiber Reservoir remains the only water body in which test results showed mussel larvae, though further testing is needed to determine whether mussels are present in Canyon Ferry Reservoir and the Milk River below Nelson Reservoir.

Additional testing was also needed on the Missouri River below Toston dam, Wolcott said.

“These detections are going to result in an increase in the number of samples and frequency of sampling across the state,” Wolcott said.

In November, Gov. Steve Bullock signed an executive order declaring a statewide natural resource emergency for all Montana waters due to the discovery of invasive mussels.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Montana Invasive Species Advisory Council formed a rapid response effort and a Joint Information Center.

Wolcott said the test results will enable the response team to prioritize efforts to controll the Tiber population and prevent the spread of invasive mussels to other water bodies in and beyond the state.