State aims to make boat inspections permanent rule

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Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on making the mandatory inspection-before-launch rule for the Flathead Basin permanent, according to a recent press release.

The rule is currently scheduled to expire on March 31, 2020, and removing the expiration date will allow the rule to continue indefinitely.

The rule, which launched as a pilot program in 2018, requires vessels and equipment traveling into the Flathead Basin that have been used on waters outside of the Flathead Basin to be inspected prior to launching within the Flathead Basin.

According to the press release, “the rule has been very successful and is supported by Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and other local stakeholders.” The agency has described the water inspection stations as Montana’s “first line of defense” against infestation by invasive species such as quagga mussels.

The public must submit their comments on the proposal by Jan.24 at midnight. Public comments can be submitted online at fwp.mt.gov or can send their data, views or arguments concerning the proposed action in writing to Tom Woolf, Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701.

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