(1) Because of the known existence of aquatic invasive mussels in the areas defined in ARM 12.5.707, the department has identified all other areas of the State of Montana as an invasive species management area because of the threat of infestation of aquatic invasive mussels.
(2) The department has determined the following quarantine measures are necessary to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive mussels:
(a) vessels and equipment approaching a department inspection station must stop for inspection as directed;
(b) vessels and equipment entering the state that do not approach a department inspection station must be inspected for aquatic invasive species prior to launching in any Montana water body, unless previously approved by the department for local use only;
(c) vessels and equipment traveling across the Continental Divide into the Columbia River Basin that have been used on waters outside of the Columbia River Basin must be inspected at a department inspection station prior to launching within the Columbia River Basin. The department will post approved inspection stations and operating hours at fwp.mt.gov;
(d) upon removing a vessel from any surface waters and before leaving the associated boat launch or parking area, all aquatic vegetation must be removed from the vessel, trailer, and equipment;
(e) transport of surface water is prohibited unless authorized by the department;
(f) live aquatic bait and fish must be transported in clean non-surface water where allowed in current public fishing regulations;
(g) reasonable measures must be taken to dry or drain all compartments or spaces that hold water, including emptying bilges, applying absorbents, and ventilation; and
(h) areas subject to inspection include but are not limited to:
(i) the exterior of the vessel;
(iii) bait buckets;
(iv) ballast tanks;
(v) bilge areas; and
(vi) trailer transporting vessel.
(3) Any vessel at an inspection station found with invasive species, or any vessel containing residual water that has been in infested water in the last 30 days, will be decontaminated by AIS staff as arranged by the department. Infested waters that contain microscopic AIS species are identified on the map titled "Mussel-Infested States and Waterbodies" available at fwp.mt.gov. AIS staff shall refer to the map or to the most current known information.
(4) Decontamination methods on vessels subject to (3) may include hot water washing, hot water flushing, and drying time, including interior portions of complex engine systems and pumps. A decontamination order may be issued that requires a drying period as directed by the department. The drying time will depend on weather conditions. During the drying period, the department may lock the vessel to the trailer to prevent launching. The department will be responsible for arranging the time and location to unlock the vessel when the drying time is complete. It is prohibited for anyone other than authorized department staff to remove the lock during the drying time. If a vessel requires a drying period as part of the decontamination process, then the vessel must pass a second inspection prior to launching in Montana waters in order to be considered decontaminated.
(5) Upon inspection and/or decontamination, proof of compliance on any requirements will be provided and must be shown upon request.
(6) Emergency response vehicles and equipment engaging in emergency response activities are exempt.
(7) Violation of this rule is subject to penalty under 80-7-1014, MCA.