Inspections For Invasive Species Working
Wyoming Game and Fish Department employees inspected more than 40,000 watercraft in 2014 for aquatic invasive species (AIS). Aquatic invasive species include quagga and zebra mussels. Of the inspections, nearly 2,000 watercraft were considered high risk and Game and Fish personnel did 860 decontaminations to eliminate any AIS being transported on watercraft into Wyoming.
This was Wyoming’s fifth boating season following passage of Aquatic Invasive Species legislation in 2010. It was the first year the Game and Fish Department teamed with non-profits to thank boaters who had their watercraft inspected by entering them in a raffle for prizes including a pontoon boat.
The Wyoming Boater Appreciation Raffle provided boaters who went through an inspection a card with a unique identifying number allowing boaters to go to the Game and Fish website, fill out a short survey and submit their entry. All prizes were completely funded by raffle sponsors, including the Nature Conservancy of Wyoming, Two Dogs Guide Service, Vortex Optics and Bass Pro Shops. The last day to enter the raffle is November 26 and winners will be selected on December 1.
Check stations are open April through September at various ports of entry in the state. In addition, Game and Fish conducted inspections at 23 waters as well as at regional offices. Private locations also conducted inspections in 2014, primarily in early spring and fall when Game and Fish check stations are not open.
Of the watercraft inspected, more than 60 percent involved watercraft registered in states other than Wyoming. Beth Bear said the majority were standard inspections but there were a greater number of high risk inspections and decontaminations than in previous years. “There were also 11 watercraft where we found invasive mussels,” Bear said.
Game and Fish watercraft check stations are now closed for the season. The mandatory inspection requirement for all watercraft entering Wyoming waters from out of state is in effect from April through November each year. At all other times, an inspection is required if a watercraft has been on a water positive for zebra/quagga mussels. Boaters are encouraged to follow the “Drain, Clean, and Dry” protocol each and every time they launch, even when an inspection station is not present at the water. Information on inspection locations including Game and Fish offices and private locations can be found at: wgfd.wyo.gov/AIS.