Invasive species such as mussels can impact all water facilities, including irrigation systems

3:59 PM, Oct 01, 2020

An invasive species is something that is not native to the ecosystem that you are in. Invasive species such as mussels impact all water facilities in usage.

When they take hold in places that they have not evolved - like Montana - they do not have any natural competition or checks and balances, so they end up becoming economically and environmentally very harmful.

The challenge is we don’t have an effective treatment once an infestation takes hold, so prevention is the only course of action to keep these aquatic species out of out waterways.

Invasive mussels in the water affect the infrastructure of the water delivery systems. The impact can be massive on irrigated agriculture. If the source of your irrigated water is infested, you now have to deal with keeping your water flow happening, which can be very expensive. If the water source was infested by mussels you would have them clogging the system, and they actually can constrict water flow completely down in pipes.

We don’t want these to become established in our state. The economic impact would be huge. The estimate for doing a drip chloride copper sulfate type maintenance to keep these from being in your irrigation systems is about $5.75 per acre foot of water. That could double the cost of irrigated water, plus you have the management headache of having to mitigate them.

If you are bringing in an out of state contractor who is doing any sort of water work, or if you are buying used irrigation equipment (pipes, pumps or any of the assorted components) for irrigation; if it is coming from somewhere that may have mussel infestation, treat it like it is a boat - inspect it clean it, drain it and dry it. That way we can prevent the establishment of these invasive species that we don’t want here.

AIS Bureau | Montana FWP

1420 East Sixth Avenue

Helena, MT 59620
Phone: (406) 444-2440

FWP Watercraft Inspection Stations

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