The early detection of aquatic invasive species is an extremely important part of our aquatic program. By searching frequently for these aquatic invaders on our lakes and rivers we will hopefully discover new introductions before they become full blown invasions.
Since 2011 Missoula County has been monitoring for aquatic plants in the Clark Fork, Blackfoot, Bitterroot, Clearwater and Swan Watersheds. Each summer we visit between 8 and 12 lakes and rivers. Using a thatch rake will pull up plants along the shoreline of lakes and rivers looking for non-native plants.
Missoula County AISD works with partners such as the Clearwater Resource Council, Swan Valley Connections, Blackfoot Challenge and FWP to ensure the monitoring for driessined mussels such as zebra and quagga mussels. This process is accomplished by pulling nets through the water column and filtering down the contents into a sample that is then sent to a lab and analyzed for microscopic larvae called veligers. These samples are often times also processed for the presence of eDNA (environmental DNA) of the mussels, a positive hit on eDNA might indicate the presence of the invasive species.