The Threat Posed by Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are non-native plants, animals, or pathogens that are introduced accidentally or intentionally into bodies of water outside of their native range. They can reproduce quickly and spread rapidly because there are no natural predators or competitors to keep them in check. AIS can displace native species, clog waterways, impact irrigation and power systems, degrade ecosystems, threaten recreational fishing opportunities, and can cause wildlife and public health problems. The annual U.S. cost related to AIS is estimated to be $120 billion, with more than 100 million acres affected.
Regulations Apply to Watercraft and Equipment
To prevent the spread of AIS, there are a variety of federal, state, and local regulations that require boat and equipment inspections when crossing state lines and moving between bodies of water; however, most of the enforcement activities are centered on watercraft. Montana law also applies to equipment, which is defined in MCA 80-7-1003 as “an implement or machinery that has been wholly or partially immersed in surface waters.”
Spill response companies like Olympus Technical Services have containment booms, pumps, hoses, anchors, lines, skimmers, etc., most of which meet the definition of “equipment.” Contractors operating equipment on construction projects near surface water could also find themselves impacted by these regulations.
Inspection, Decontamination and Certification Services Available from Olympus
As part of our spill response activities and exercises, Olympus has been inspecting and decontaminating watercraft and equipment before (if needed) and after contact with surface water. We have the equipment and the training to conduct inspections and perform decontaminations that meet regulatory requirements and now, through a memorandum of understanding with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP), we have the authority to certify for other companies that their equipment has been inspected and decontaminated (if necessary).
If your company is operating watercraft or equipment in, on, or near surface water, contact us about integrating our inspection and decontamination services into your operations. Please note that regulations vary by state and there are even some differences across Montana. Please become familiar with the regulations where you will be using and transporting your watercraft and equipment. We can perform inspections and decontaminations anywhere within our service area, but our certifications are currently only recognized by Montana FWP.