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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074 | Fax: (406) 444-2684
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Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3)


Upper Columbia Conservation Commission Established, Members Appointed


The Upper Columbia Conservation Commission (UC3) was created to protect the aquatic environment in tributaries to the Columbia river from the threat of invasive species. Through cooperative efforts, the UC3 is tasked with monitoring the condition of aquatic resources in the tributaries to the Columbia river by providing coordination on response and detection efforts.

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.

The purpose of the UC3 is to protect the aquatic environment in tributaries to the Columbia river from the threat of invasive species. Through cooperative efforts, the UC3 is tasked with monitoring the condition of aquatic resources in the tributaries to the Columbia river by providing coordination on response and detection efforts.

“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 to keep it that way.”

The following individuals  have been appointed by Governor Bullock to serve on the commission.

  • Lori Curis, Whitefish. UC3 Chair. Qualification: representative of conservation districts. Curis is the Flathead Conservation District Supervisor and the director of science and education at the Whitefish Lake Institute.  
  • Dennis Clairmont, Pablo. Qualification: representative of Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Clairmont represents the Pablo District on the CSKT Tribal Council.
  • Mike Koopal, Whitefish. Qualification: member-at-large. Koopal is the Executive Director of the Whitefish Lake Institute.
  • Paul Kusnierz, Noxon. Qualification: representative of the hydropower utility industry. Kusnierz is a fisheries biologist at Avista Utilities.
  • Tom Woolf, Helena. Qualification: representative of the Invasive Species Council. Woolf is the Chief of the Aquatic Invasive Species Bureau at the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
  • Phil Matson, Columbia Falls. Qualification: representative of private landowners in the Upper Columbia Basin. Matson is a research specialist at the Flathead Biological Station. 
  • Brian 'BJ' Johnson, Kalispell. Qualification: representative of recreation organizations. Johnson is the owner and lead guide for 'Sea Me Paddle' kayaking tours. 
  • Chris Parrott, Kalispell. Qualification: representative of private industry. Parrott is the general manager for Jesco Marine. 
  • Stacey Schnebel, Coram. Qualification: representative of electric cooperatives in the Upper Columbia basin. Schnebel is on the board of the Flathead Electric Co-op and also represents the Flathead Electric Co-op and the Montana Electric Cooperatives Association.  

 

In addition to the above appointed (voting) members, a number of federal agencies serve in an ex-officio role on the UC3. All meetings are open to the public. 

The first UC3 meeting was held October 4, 2017 in Missoula. An Aquatic Invasive Species Watercraft Inspection & Monitoring Workshop will be co-hosted by the UC3 and the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribe in Polson December 11-12. The next UC3 meeting will be held January 24, 2018 in Kalispell at the Flathead Electric Coop (2510 Hwy 2).  


Contact Us:

Kate Wilson, UC3 Coordinator

406.444.2951

kate.wilson@mt.gov

Meeting Schedule

Date:           January 24, 2018

Time:          9:00 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.

Location:     Flathead Electric Coop (2510 Hwy 2, Kalispell MT)