What We Do
"The UC3 provides an assembly in which to discuss, debate, coordinate, plan and implement AIS programming for the Montana portion of the Upper Columbia Basin across international borders, on tribal lands, regionally, statewide, and locally. Our goal is to help minimize the duplication of efforts amongst partners, maximize productivity and the reach of limited funds, connect members and stakeholders with the bigger issues to discuss and better understand them, and continue to create an environment that recognizes our natural and cultural histories that honors the generations to come. I believe that by addressing AIS issues thoughtfully and respectfully, the UC3 is doing all of those things."
— Lori Curtis
The UC3 meets 4-6 times annually and strives to enhance coordination, communication and AIS prevention and management activities within the Upper Columbia Basin. The UC3 is able to leverage partnerships across the basin to augment the state's AIS program.
Some highlights of our work to date include:
- conduct annual Industry Outreach Project with all water-based recreational businesses in the basin
- develop and implement annual monitoring plan
- develop and implement Education and Outreach Strategy (updated every 3 years) including annual media plan and partner E&O assessment
- produced Education & Outreach Plan, including inventory of outreach materials and events;
- mapped all MFWP, partner and border inspection and decontamination stations;
- mapped AIS eDNA & microscopy sample locations and spatially represented through GIS;
- recommendations to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on the management of Tiber and Canyon Ferry Reservoirs;
- conducted a 2018 Montana AIS Program Evaluation via an online survey assessing the experience, successes and challenges of partners, stakeholders and the public;
- secured a $15,000 DNRC AIS Grant to build a website and produce educational materials; and
- secured a $120,000 Bureau of Reclamation Grant to carry out four projects featuring education & outreach, monitoring, response and a marina/boat shop pilot project within the Upper Columbia Basin.
"Ensuring our early detection monitoring programs are coordinated and comprehensive, as well as preparing for an emergency response to an AIS detection will be the focus of the group," said Tom Woolf, Montana's Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau Chief. "The Columbia River Basin is the largest watershed in the lower 48 that doesn't have mussels, and Montana is working hard to keep it that way."
Unless there are member conflicts, UC3's executive committee meets every other Wednesday at 9:30 to coordinate and track Commission activities, plan upcoming meetings, and address emerging and timely issues. All Commission and Committee meetings are open to the public. Contact Cassidy Bender for meeting details
Members: Chair (Lori Curtis), Vice Chair (Tom Woolf), and staff (Kate Wilson & Cassidy Bender).
Early Detection & Monitoring
Document current monitoring efforts; develop and implement annual monitoring plan for AIS within the Upper Columbia Basin; enhance coordination among monitoring partners; enhance citizen science monitoring efforts; seek consensus on protocols and standards among partners.
Members: Chair – Chris Downs (UC3/Glacier National Park), Lindsey Bona-Eggeman (Missoula County Weed District), Joann Wallenburn (Clearwater Resource Council), Mike Koopal (UC3/Whitefish Lake Institute), Paul Kusnierz (UC3/Avista), Phil Matson (UC3/Flathead Lake Biological Station), Tom Woolf (UC3/MISC, Fish, Wildlife & Parks)
Education & Outreach
Work with stakeholders; document existing education, outreach and advertising efforts; address gaps in current efforts; develop and implement annual education & outreach strategy for AIS within the Upper Columbia.
Members: Chair - Lori Curtis (UC3/Whitefish Lake Institute/Flathead Conservation District), Monica Elser (Flathead Lake Biological Station), BJ Johnson (UC3/Sea Me Paddle), Liz Lodman (Fish, Wildlife & Parks), Chris Parrott (UC3/Jesco Marine), Stacey Schnebel (UC3/Flathead Electric Coop).