Aquatic Invasive Species, Caryn Miske

Zebras beyond the 100th Meridian, Mike Koopal

Invasive Species

There are a number of ways for invasive species to find their way into the Flathead Watershed. It is important that anglers, boaters, and personal watercraft users help stop the spread of aquatic invasive organisms. Our lakes are a prime habitat for invasive nonnative species to become established and destroy the native habitat while also negatively affecting our economy.

Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are plants such as Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), animals such as zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), and other organisms such as Myxobolus ceresbralis, the parasite that, along with the aquatic worm (Tubifex tubifex), causes whirling disease. Once introduced into new habitats, these organisms disturb native species through competition, predation, displacement, hybridization, and spread of disease and parasites, and can ultimately cause the extinction of many valued organisms. AIS also affects humans by adversely impacting commercial, agricultural, aquacultural, and recreational activities that depend on water resources. AIS are a growing concern in the Flathead Watershed.

Figure 5.15: Aquatic invasive species. Eurasian milfoil (left), Flowering Rush (upper right), Flowering Rush (upper rIght), New Zealand mussel (lower right). Source: Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks

Flathead Basin AIS Work Group
The following is a growing list of AIS work group participants and stakeholders:

  • Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
  • Flathead Basin Commission
  • Flathead Conservation District
  • Flathead County
  • Flathead Lake Biological Station
    Flathead Lakers
  • Flathead National Forest
  • Glacier National Park
  • Lake County
  • Missoula County
  • Montana Department of Agriculture
  • Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
  • Sanders County
  • U.S. Geological Survey
  • Whitefish Lake Institute
Resources/Aquatic Invasive Species
100th Meridian Initiative
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force
Flathead Basin Commission
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Protect Your Waterways
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission – Aquatic Nuisance Prevention Program
The Aquatic Nuisance Species Project


For more information, send email to info@flatheadwatershed.org or info@flatheadcore.org.
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