Pablo Espinoza, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Conservation Officer Program Chief, knows that effective prevention of the introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) into the lakes and rivers of the Flathead Basin cannot succeed without adequate law enforcement and compliance efforts. However, Chief Espinoza understands the reality that Tribal, State, County and City enforcement officers will all need to work together to protect this precious resource into the future.
Chief Espinoza said, “To stop the introduction of AIS on the Reservation enforcement personnel must work together and violators need to be stopped”. In an effort to coordinate local law enforcement Chief Espinoza invited area enforcement officers to a recent meeting to discuss coordination of AIS enforcement efforts for the 2018 boating season.
According to Tom McDonald, Manager for the Division of Fish Wildlife Recreation and Conservation, “It is critically important that no boat passes an AIS Watercraft Inspection Station without getting inspected.” Vehicles with boats that drive by an open check station will be stopped and ticketed by local jurisdictions. The coordinated effort between Ronan, Polson and St. Ignatius Police Departments, Lake County Sheriff’s Department, Mt Fish, Wildlife and Parks Game Wardens, Mt Highway Patrol Officers and Tribal Conservation Officers provides seamless enforcement across the reservation”.
Anyone who is concerned about maintaining a Mussel free Flathead Basin needs to call and report drive bys. Watercraft that must stop at an AIS Watercraft Inspection Station include motorized boats, canoes, paddle boards and any inflatable floatation device.
Watercraft Inspection Stations will be open the weekend of March 16th. For more information regarding the CSKT AIS Program contact Tom McDonald, Germaine White or Erik Hanson or Chief Pablo Espinoza at 675-2700.