MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Montana officials say a boat infested with an invasive species of mussels passed two watercraft checkpoints before they were discovered.
The Missoulian reported that Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say the zebra mussels were found on a boat bound for Seattle.
Officials say zebra and quagga mussels can clog water intake pipes, disrupt the fishing tourism industry and cost industries, businesses and communities billions of dollars.
Officials say the aquatic invasive species on the vessel that originated in Lake Michigan could have spread in the Columbia River basin without the discovery.
Montana Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau chief Tom Wolfe says the state has protocols to prevent the spread of the mussels.
Wolfe says the initial missed checks were due to errors by seasonal staff.
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Information from: Missoulian