By Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service

HELENA - In response to the discovery of invasive mussels in Tiber Reservoir in early November, lawmakers are considering implementing water basin planning committees to control and prevent certain species in bodies of water in Montana.

House Bill 540 would employ councils for four rivers in the state that would consult with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on methods of preventing invasive species from entering state waters.

“We’re considering all the options. We don’t want to close any waterways, but we have to do our due diligence to make sure and preserve what the great state of Montana has,” said Rep. Mark Noland, R-Bigfork, sponsor of the bill.

The bill would also grant the council control over an invasive species account within the state special revenue fund.

“Different basins are set up so that those certain areas are able to focus and have input on what they think needs to happen in their area,” Noland said.

The House Natural Resources Committee will hear testimony on the bill Wednesday.

Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.