The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks has established dozens of watercraft inspection stations around the state to protect waterways from the spread of invasive mussels.

To clarify the policies regarding the inspection stations, Information Bureau Chief Greg Lemon explains why some boats are inspected and some are not.

"It's not unlikely that people would encounter an inspection station on their way to a popular water body such as Flathead Lake, so that they can be inspected before they launch," Lemon began. "So, they get inspected before they launch, they recreate on the lake, they leave, and then they don't get inspected on their way home. But, if they come back to Flathead Lake, hopefully, they'll get inspected again."

Lemon said even if a boat has already been inspected, it does not exempt the owner from having it inspected again.

"If you have your watercraft with you and you pass a watercraft inspection station, you have to stop," he said. "Nobody gets to skip one. Say you're traveling across the state and you stop at one station around Missoula, and then you encountered another one somewhere else in the state, you'd still need to stop, but that second stop will be much quicker after you show your receipt from your first stop. In other words, all watercraft need to stop at all inspection stations."

Lemon said there are over 30 inspection stations throughout the state, including four decontamination stations at Canyon Ferry and two at Tiber Reservoir, in addition to each of the seven FWP regional offices. Canyon Ferry and Tiber are the only two places where invasive mussels have actually been found so far in the state.

More From KMPT-AM