HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana lawmakers have moved forward on a pair of proposals aimed at combating the spread of zebra mussels.

The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly endorsed the creation of a council that would spearhead the battle against the invasive species.

Meanwhile, the House advanced a proposal that would raise $15.5 million for the effort over two years through increased fishing license fees and a new fee on hydroelectric facilities.

Last fall, Gov. Steve Bullock declared a statewide emergency for lakes and other bodies of water after the discovery zebra mussel larvae for the first time.

If left unchecked, the mussels could pose an ecological catastrophe to the state's mostly pristine waters. It could also mean the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy.