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. Currently we have four focus areas with committees that include: watercraft inspections, monitoring, response and preparedness, and education and outreach. 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:
- developed monitoring and outreach strategies and plan within the Upper Columbia Basin;
- 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;
- developed call tree for all inspection and decontamination stations;
- 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."
UC3's executive committee meets every other week to coordinate and track Commission activities, plan upcoming meetings, and address emerging and timely issues.
Members: Chair (Lori Curtis), Vice Chair (Tom Woolf), and staff (Kate Wilson).
Members: Chair - Tom Woolf (UC3/Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks/MISC), Lindsey Bona-Eggeman (Missoula County Weed District), Erik Hanson (Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes); Russ Hartzel, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks,Jay Monroe (Blackfeet Nation); Mike Koopal (UC3/Whitefish Lake Institute).
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 - Mike Koopal (UC3/Whitefish Lake Institute), Erik Hanson (Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes), Paul Kusnierz (UC3/Avista), Phil Matson (UC3/Flathead Lake Biological Station) Cameron Thomas (UC3/US Forest Service), Tom Woolf (UC3/MISC, Fish, Wildlife & Parks),
Members: Tom Woolf (UC3/Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks), Erik Hanson (Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes); Bryce Christiaens (MISC/Missoula County Weed District); Chris Downs (Glacier National Park); Joanne Grady (USFWS).
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).