AIS/Invasive Mussels

Upcoming Training

On June 10-11, 2024, the Flathead Lake Biological Station and MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks will conduct a 2 day aquatic invasive species training event providing AIS identification and sampling methods, eDNA sample collection, and equipment decontamination. An integral portion of the training will be spent overviewing and using Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP), a “point of use technology capable of real-time presence/absence detection.   

A portion of the training will be spent in the field collecting specimens following MTFWP all taxa protocolsUpon completion, participants will be provided access to other AIS training resources, equipment loans, and sampling events.  Lunch is provided, and lodging is available upon request. 

For more information, contact

AIS Training flyer

What are AIS or Invasive Mussels?

Zebra mussels are an aquatic invasive species (AIS) that has spread rapidly across the US since the 1980s.

  • Known for their detrimental effects on native fish and plant populations, as well as the significant economic costs associated with their rapid reproduction, waste products, and the changes they cause in lakes and streams
  • Spread to new lakes by hitchhiking on boats, trailers, and water gear that has been used in an infected lake
  • First detected in Montana in 2016
  • Have NOT YET been detected in Flathead Lake, but more effort and education is needed to keep it this way
Read more about how FLBS monitors for AIS in the Flathead watershed. UM Vision magazine.  

Why Should I Be Concerned?

Zebra mussels cause significant economic and environmental damage to water bodies as soon as they become established. 

  • They significantly alter the local foodweb and choke out native fish and plant populations. 
  • They pollute water use infrastructure by damaging irrigation and water intake pipes.
  • Their shells and waste products pollute shorelines and lake bottoms, affecting recreational boating and beach use.
  • Their presence could negatively impact property values and decrease revenue generated by tourism.
Read more about the effects of Flathead Lake and outdoor recreation on the economy of the Flathead valley.