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Call to Action
Invasive mussels in Montana Flathead Laker fact sheet
This is Why... Roger Smith & Betty Moore
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Call to Action 
 
The 65th Montana Legislature is now in session and debating the state's response to finding invasive mussels in Montana and necessary funding. Read the state's Invasive Mussel Framework here

Please join us and write to your senator, representative, and Governor Bullock (here) to express your concern over the threat of invasive mussels to the Flathead watershed, and support of funding to help prevent the spread of invasive mussels.

Copy and paste our 'sample letter to your legislators' (pdf and doc) and put it into your words to easily contact your legislators.  Find your legislators' contact information here or send a web message here.  Let's let Helena hear how important our Montana waters are to us.

 
 
Invasive mussels in Montana
 
Last fall, aquatic invasive mussel larvae were discovered in samples from Tiber Reservoir.  Samples from Canyon Ferry Reservoir and a couple more places in the Missouri River watershed were suspect for mussel larvae. 

Invasive mussels are now on the doorstep of Flathead Lake!  All water bodies in Montana are at great risk.  There are no effective ways to eliminate an established invasive mussel population.

 
WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
An introduction of invasive mussels in the Flathead would result in huge local recreation and economic impacts, such as:
  • Reductions in local tourism, recreation, and lakeside property values
  • Beaches covered with sharp shells would make walking and playing difficult for people and animals.  Our fresh air would turn foul smelling with mussels decomposing along the shoreline
  • Increased costs for cleaning and maintaining water system pipes used in domestic, municipal, agricultural, and hydroelectric facilities
  • Increases in our monthly electricity and water bills due to substantially more annual maintenance costs for utility companies. 
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service estimated that if zebra or quagga mussels invade the Columbia River, they could cost hydroelectric facilities alone up to $250-300 million annually.  Above: Quagga mussels on ABS pipes from Lake Mead, NV at 0, 2, 4, and 6 months.
An introduction of invasive mussels in Flathead Lake would have devastating environmental changes.  
Zebra and quagga mussels are voracious filter feeders, removing substantial amounts of phytoplankton from the base of the food web.  We could see dramatic changes in the Flathead watershed  ecosystem—possibly irreversible, including:
  • crashing fish populations
  • losing native flora and fauna
  • declining water quality
  • increasing frequency of toxic algal blooms.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
  • Talk to your legislators: Support a new plan and funding for more protection for the Flathead watershed, including additional boat inspection stations, and proven techniques like dogs, divers, and DNA.
  • Join the Flathead Lakers Aquatic Invasive Species volunteer advocacy group: contact Hilary Devlin at hilary@flatheadlakers.org or 406-883-1341.
  • Participate in the volunteer dock and shoreline inspection day this spring.
  • Remind your friends and guests to clean, drain, and dry their boats every time they move them AND to happily stop at all watercraft inspection stations.

Click here for downloadable Invasive Mussel fact sheet from the Flathead Lakers. Spread the word, not the mussels!
January's Science on Tap-Flathead featured an expert panel discussion on the threat of invasive mussels to the Flathead watershed.

The discussion was informative and captivating. If you are interested, click here to watch it and get informed!  
This is Why... 
Inaction on mussels has costs
Missoulian guest column:
Roger Smith, Flathead Lakers' board of directors

Following Mike Cuffe’s example (Missoulian, Dec. 20), I too wish to stress the significance of the recent discovery of quagga and zebra mussels in Montana water bodies. As Rep. Cuffe notes, “the implications (of a mussel infestation) are serious” for our economy, environment and quality of life.

Montana has lagged other states in addressing the mussel threat. The Flathead Lakers and many other organizations have, for years, brought the serious threat of mussels to the attention of our legislators, governor and state government officials. Progress was made, but still Montana is behind neighbors, such as Idaho, in providing resources needed to address the threat. 

Read more.
Excerpt from Betty Moore's 'This is Why...' from May 25, 2016
 
We chatted for a few minutes and she began telling me about an incident that happened on their lake last summer. She said her small grandchild went running into the lake without his rubber bootees. She immediately ran in after him and stepped on a rock covered with zebra mussels. She felt the terrible pain of a bad cut, but got the child out unharmed. The family could tell that she was hurt and sat her down in a chair and tried to stop the bleeding. She began to cry, and her children were terribly distressed thinking that she was in great pain. She told them, "I am not crying for myself, I'm crying for our lake.”  

Read more.  


…I just joined the Lakers’ board of directors.
                                 ~Betty Moore
A three-foot deep pile of zebra mussel shells about 50 yards long are piled up along the Lake Winnebago shoreline in April 2012 at Wayside Park just north of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Credit: Mark Hoffman
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PO Box 70, Polson, MT 59860  (406) 883-1346  lakers@flatheadlakers.org  www.flatheadlakers.org

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