CHEYENNE - There is plenty of summer left to enjoy Wyoming’s boating opportunities. For those heading out boating there are some key steps to help protect Wyoming’s waters from aquatic invasive species. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds watercraft users of how to comply with the Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) laws and regulations. Here are some of the keypoints to remember:
• Boat Inspections: Law requires anyone transporting a watercraft to stop at all open check stations regardless of residency or previous inspection.
• Check stations are used to ensure boaters “Drain, Clean and Dry” after leaving the water.
• Boat inspections are also available at Game and Fish Regional Offices during normal business hours.
• Any watercraft transported into Wyoming from March 1 through November 30 must undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching.
• Any person transporting a watercraft that has not left the state and who did not encounter a mandatory aquatic invasive species check station prior to reaching a water of the state may launch without further inspection.
• Any watercraft that has been in a water infested with zebra/quagga mussels within the last 30 days, is required to undergo a mandatory inspection by an authorized inspector prior to launching during ALL months of the year.
• Watercraft must be registered with the Game and Fish.
• Watercraft used on Wyoming waters must display an AIS Decal. The only exception are nonmotorized inflatable watercraft 10-feet in length or less. While these watercraft are not required to have a decal, they do require an inspection when coming from out of state.
“We realize there is some inconvenience for the boating public, but we do our best to make the inspections and check station encounters efficient and brief. The overall goal is to minimize the chance of aquatic invasive species getting into Wyoming waters and causing permanent damage to our resource,” said the chief of the Game and Fish’s Fish Division, Mark Fowden. “The watercraft users are the first line of defense against an invasion. The main tasks are to drain, clean, and dry your watercraft and equipment after every use and have your boat inspected when required to do so. We really do appreciate your time and vigilance.”
Zebra and quagga mussels clog boat motor cooling systems, foul watercraft hulls and equipment and clog water delivery systems used for power plants, irrigation and domestic water use, increasing maintenance costs; costs that are all passed on to the user. Even worse, these exotic filter-feeding mussels remove plankton, a.k.a. fishfood, from the water resulting in the potential collapse of fish populations. There is more information on the Game and Fish website wgfd.wyo.gov/AIS. The 2015 AIS decal is also available online, at all Game and Fish regional offices, and at automated license agents.
(Contact: Al Langston, (307) 777-4540)