Montana Administrative Register Notice 12-480 No. 5   03/16/2018    
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In the matter of the adoption of New Rule I pertaining to a Pilot Program for Aquatic Invasive Species in the Flathead Basin







TO: All Concerned Persons


1. On January 12, 2018, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (department) published MAR Notice No. 12-480 pertaining to the public hearings on the proposed adoption of the above-stated rule at page 23 of the 2018 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 1.


2. The department has adopted the above-stated rule as proposed: New Rule I (12.5.709).


3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received and the department's responses are as follows:


COMMENT #1:  The department received a comment on expanding the mandatory inspection before launch requirement to the entire Clark Fork Basin.


RESPONSE #1:  Current watercraft inspection rules require mandatory inspection for all watercraft entering the state and all watercraft crossing west over the Continental Divide.  This provides an inspection requirement for all watercraft entering the Columbia Basin portion of Montana, including the Clark Fork Basin.


COMMENT #2:  The department received comments expressing concern regarding the timeline for opening watercraft inspection stations.


RESPONSE #2:  Montana watercraft inspection stations are opening on a rolling timeline this year based on risk of mussel transport.  Stations will begin operation at the end of March and operate into October.


COMMENT #3:  The department received comments concerning the penalization, fines, and enforcement behind recreationists who skip inspection stations or do not comply with these rules.


RESPONSE #3:  The fines and penalties for violating these rules can be found under 80-7-1014, MCA.  Enforcement has the authority to stop vehicles that fail to stop at inspection stations under 80-7-1019, MCA.


COMMENT #4:  The department received comments expressing concerns with staffing watercraft inspection stations in eastern Montana.


RESPONSE #4:  The department is investigating new ways to identify and hire quality staff for watercraft inspection stations.  The department is working with regional partners to help identify qualified candidates and job postings began early to increase the time frame where candidates can apply.


COMMENT #5:  The department received comments expressing the need to have boaters to take more responsibility to ensure they are not transporting AIS.


RESPONSE #5:  Current rules put the responsibility for inspection on boaters that are entering the state or crossing the Continental Divide.  It is also the responsibility of boaters to ensure their boats are clean, free of AIS, and drained of water.  Boaters can be cited if they fail to comply with these requirements. The department also has a targeted outreach campaign to help ensure boaters are aware of these requirements. 



/s/ Rebecca Dockter                                   /s/ Martha Williams

Rebecca Dockter                                        Martha Williams

Rule Reviewer                                            Director

                                                                   Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks



Certified to the Secretary of State March 6, 2018.


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