Invasive Mussels Found in Montana
In the fall of 2016, 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 WE SHOULD CARE:
An introduction of invasive mussels in the Flathead would have huge local recreation and economic impacts.
- 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 ultility companies.
An introduction would lead to devastating environmental change.
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 – possibily irreversible, including:
- crashing fish populations.
- losing native flora and fauna.
- declining water quality.
- increasing frequency of toxic algal blooms.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Be a Montana Superhero!
Important Links to Current Montana Mussel Information
Montana Mussel Response – Montana’s state response to invasive mussels
Volunteer and spread the word about preventing introductions of aquatic invaders:
- Contact the Flathead Lakers to volunteer for aquatic invasive species prevention and education projects.
- Share our Superhero video and other information about the threat of aquatic invaders with your friends and neighbors.