BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH, WILDLIFE AND PARKS
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the adoption of NEW RULE I regarding aquatic invasive species inspection stations
NOTICE OF ADOPTION
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On April 28, 2011, the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks (department) published MAR Notice No. 12-366 regarding a notice of public hearing on the proposed adoption of the above-stated rule at page 626, 2011 Montana Administrative Register, issue number 8.
2. The department has adopted NEW RULE I [ARM 12.11.341] as proposed, but with the following changes, stricken matter interlined, new matter underlined:
NEW RULE I [ARM 12.11.341] Aquatic Invasive Species Inspection Stations (1) Vessels
that are intended to be launched on any water in Montana approaching a department-operated inspection station must stop as directed at designated inspection stations operated by the department and be subject to inspection for aquatic invasive species.
(2) Vessels intended for launching on any water in Montana are subject to inspection for aquatic invasive species.
(2) remains as proposed but is renumbered (3).
(3) (4) Any vessel at an inspection station found with an invasive species must will be decontaminated as arranged by the department and must pass a second inspection prior to being allowed to launching in Montana waters.
3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received and department's responses are as follows:
Comment 1: The department received six comments in favor of adopting the rule as proposed.
Response 1: The department appreciates the interest in this rulemaking process.
Comment 2: One person questioned whether a boater needs to seek out an inspection station before launching a boat.
Response 2: The department amended the rule language to clarify that a vessel approaching an inspection station is required to stop as directed. A boater does not need to intentionally seek out an inspection station before launching.
Comment 3: One person questioned who will be responsible for conducting the decontamination.
Response 3: The department amended the rule language to clarify that the department will either conduct the decontamination or will make arrangements for the decontamination to be completed appropriately.
Comment 4: Walleyes Unlimited is in favor of the rule, the aquatic invasive species (AIS) inspections and decontaminations, and the Inspect, Clean, and Dry program. Walleyes Unlimited also recognizes the department for their work on AIS and for expanding the AIS inspection program. Walleyes Unlimited does not believe it will be a bad process or an inconvenience.
Response 4: The department appreciates the interest in this rulemaking process and the support of Walleyes Unlimited.
Comment 5: One person stated the boat inspections were unnecessary, questioned where the inspection stations would be located and funded, and stated that only out of state boats should be inspected.
Response 5: The mandatory inspection stations are necessary to prevent the introduction and further spread of aquatic invasive species. Previously, department authority extended only to anglers and hunters, the new rule would make it mandatory for all watercraft to stop at designated inspection stations. The inspection stations will be located at key border crossings, on highways, and also at some water bodies. The selection of locations is based on the highest risk areas and most likely routes of infested boats into the state. The inspection program will be funded with a combination of general fund money, license dollars, and federal funds. Out-of-state boats are definitely the highest risk boats however, Montana residents also travel frequently out-of-state, additionally we are concerned about invasive species that may be moved around by watercraft within state borders, and therefore, all watercraft will be required to stop at designated inspection stations.
Comment 6: One person stated the department should coordinate with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to increase boat inspection capacity at weigh stations.
Response 6: The department has been coordinating with MDT. Inspection stations located at MDT weigh stations is being considered.
Comment 7: One person requested an exception to mandatory inspections for boats being brought in from winter dry storage.
Response 7: For the department for determine the risk a vessel poses, it has to be inspected. Vessels coming from winter dry storage will pose a minimal risk but would still be required to stop at inspection stations as directed.
Comment 8: One person stated the process needs to be easy on the boater so it is not a negative experience and wants it to be a friendly process.
Response 8: The department agrees that the process should be easy on the boater and not a negative experience. It is the intention to conduct the inspections as efficiently as possible. It is anticipated that the average inspection time will be less than five minutes per vessel. The department will be taking several measures to decrease the inconvenience to those recreating.
/s/ Joe Maurier
Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
/s/ Robert N. Lane
Robert N. Lane
Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Certified to the Secretary of State June 13, 2011