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Water Management Associations
Northwest Boat Inspectors Get Big Boost from Federal Budget
To prevent invasive aquatic hitchhikers, a bit of legislation hitched a ride of its own in last year’s 2,009-page federal appropriations bill.

The Aquatic Plant Control Program received $4 million in the coming fiscal year to boost operation of boat inspection stations in Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

The exact division of the fund will get worked out later this month, but it generally will go to the states as matching funds for existing aquatic invasive species programs. Montana already spends $1.1 million a year on the fight.

Zebra and quagga mussels are filter feeders that can quickly deplete a lake’s population of plankton and other tiny food sources. That rattles up the food chain, and can greatly change or eliminate the populations of sport fish people expect to see in local water bodies. In the process, the mussels clarify the water, which allows more sunlight to reach the bottom and encourages growth of invasive plant species.

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Rise in Boat Sales Could Suggest a New Quagga Mussel Infestation - Quagga mussels can be spread by watercraft, and recent boat sales data from the National Marine Manufacturers Association shows that sales are robust. More vessels are filling state lakes, rivers, reservoirs and waterways; the increased vessels suggest a new quagga mussel infestation may be in the future.

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