The Columbia Watershed is the last remaining watershed in the US that does not yet have invasive quagga and zebra mussels. It is imperative that we keep them from entering western Montana waterways, especially as they have already been detected in the Tiber Reservoir, unconnected to the Columbia Watershed. Due to this concern, WEN collaborated with an AIS consultant and local high school teachers to develop the Columbia Headwaters Education Kit (CHEK 4 AIS). This program includes curriculum and a series of activities compiled in a trunk for easy transport.
A key component of the CHEK 4 AIS curriculum is the culminating project, or AIS community outreach “action project” in which students create their own public education messages (poster, letter to the editor, news article, PSA’s for radio, tv, etc). This allows youth to take an active role in prevention of mussel invasion and the protection of their watershed.
Our AIS program provides students (and their families by extension) with knowledge of aquatic invasive species threats and how to prevent their spread into our western waters.