Butch Otter

Montana lawmakers act to combat invasive zebra mussels

Concerned about the ecological and economic harm posed by zebra mussels, Montana lawmakers moved forward Tuesday with a pair of proposals aimed at preventing the invasive mollusk from getting a foothold on the state's lakes and mostly pristine waters.

The Senate overwhelmingly acted to make permanent a council created by Gov. Steve Bullock to oversee the battle against invasive species. The chamber also endorsed the creation of a conservation commission for the upper Columbia River.

Meanwhile, the House advanced a financing plan that would raise about $14 million for the effort over two years by increasing fishing license fees and authorizing a new fee on hydroelectric...