In response to the invasive mussel detections in two Montana waterways last year, the 2017 Legislature established the Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3) to enhance early detection and rapid response efforts through increased coordination with water management agencies within the Columbia River Basin in Montana, as well as provincial and state partners in the basin.
Created in the 2017 legislative session by House Bill 622, the UC3 was established to foster close cooperation and coordination between international, federal, regional, state, tribal, and local water resource managers for the development and implementation of comprehensive Upper Columbia River Basin prevention and management measures to prevent the introduction and/or further establishment of AIS.
Zebra Mussels, invasive.org
Duties/Mission of the UC3
The mission of the UC3 is to protect the aquatic environment in Montana tributaries to the Columbia River from the threat of AIS in order to protect water resources, downstream interests, and the economic and ecological vitality of the region.
Quagga Mussel, invasive.org
Deliverables/Objectives of the UC3
- Monitor the condition of aquatic resources in the tributaries to the Columbia River and coordinate development of an annual monitoring plan. The plan must use a cooperative strategy among all water management agencies within the Columbia River Basin in Montana and identify monitoring specific to AIS threats;
- Encourage the close cooperation and coordination between international, federal, tribal, state, regional, and local water resource managers for establishment of comprehensive monitoring, data collection, and interpretation;
- Encourage and work for international cooperation and coordination between the state of Montana and the Canadian province of British Columbia;
- Encourage and work towards close partnerships with downstream Columbia River Basin states and adjacent provinces to improve coordination and protect the water resources of the region;
- Develop and implement an AIS education and outreach strategy specifically for the Upper Columbia River Basin in Montana;
- Encourage economic development by reducing threats from AIS and conducting restoration and infestation control measures;
- Provide an annual report to the governor, director of Montana DNRC and the Environmental Quality Council comprised of the following:
- A summary of information gathered
- Information on monitoring activities within the Montana portion of the Columbia River
- An account of all money received and expended by source and purpose
- Meet at least biannually; and
- Make recommendations to the governor and to federal, state, tribal, provincial, regional, and local agencies for reducing threats from AIS and for conducting restoration and infestation control measures.